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Known to all as “Monty”
An inspirational leader, Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery was once asked to name the three greatest generals in history. Half smiling, he replied, "The other two were Alexander the Great and Napoleon." It was a characteristic remark, utterly self-assured and mockingly arrogant.
Dwight Eisenhower, World War II boss of the brusque field marshal, said that Monty was tops at winning the admiration of his men and in fighting set-piece battles. Other descriptions included "as quick as a ferret and about as likeable."
At the battle of El Alamein he knew that Rommel was very short of fuel and that the Germans could not sustain a long campaign. When Rommel attacked, Montgomery was asleep. When he was woken from his sleep to be told the news, it is said that he replied "excellent, excellent" and went back to sleep again.
Monty’s philosophy of battle was that he always decided beforehand where the arrows would go. He insisted that it was his job to “make the enemy dance to his tune”, and that it was up to him to compose the tune carefully beforehand. His attitude was simple. First you arranged for victory to be inevitable, taking as long to do that as you had to. You rehearsed the battle until everyone knew what they had to do. Then you went ahead with the battle, and won it. Then you set up the next battle, and won that, and so on until the war ended. Monty’s soldiers were delighted. Thank God for a general who knew how to win battles.
The man was a legend! But why is this on my blog? Well we held a recent leadership day and one of the exercises was to review inspirational leaders and discuss. Monty was my pick and so thought i would share the summary.
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