5

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Keys to Gaining Buy-in and Motivating People to Action

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THE MILITARY HAS been onto something since the days of muskets and keelhauling. It goes like this: The brass says “Jump,” and the troops ask “How high?” Not only do the enlisted masses not have to like it, but the folks with the embroidered hats couldn’t care less whether they do. In fact, if you’re a drill instructor with a bit of a Napoleon complex, the less the grunts like what you say, the better.

The reason this works is obvious: There is no alternative. A soldier can’t resign. Resistance gets the soldier some quality time in the brig. Request a rationale, and you’re cleaning the latrine with a toothbrush—yours—for the next month. The only other situation in ...

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