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No Substitute for Victory: Lessons in Strategy and Leadership from General Douglas Macarthur by Donna Kinni, Theodore Kinni

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Chapter 4. Understand the Situation

Strategy can be informed by generic and proven principles, but it cannot depend on those principles alone. The environment in which an organization is operating must also inform strategy. In short, leaders cannot create successful strategies in a vacuum.

MacArthur demonstrated his understanding of this principle early in his career, when he was a staff officer in WWI. In France, MacArthur quickly gained a reputation as a frontline leader, but it wasn't just bravado that drove him to expose himself to danger. Here is how he described his first contact with enemy troops on February 26, 1918:

I had long felt it was imperative to know by personal observation what the division had to face. It is all very well to ...

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