Alexander was right

In the middle of some stressful planning, I hear turmoil, and sometimes witness relationships being fragmented after some dire personality frictions: it is like adding oil to a fire. Debates around logistics planning lose logic, and strategies face some kind of failure. Why? Mostly because emotions get out of control, and tempers get in the way. The desire to succeed seems to make some ambitious brains lose touch with the basics: to know one’s surroundings before wanting to land, plant and grow. It looks like war, and, in a way, it is rightly comparable.

Digging into past history, way before Iron Maiden’s album Somewhere in time, in 1986, one can read about Sun TzuThemistocles or Ramses the Great, and learn lots about outsmarting enemies. Some managed to live longer than others, and their strategic planning greatly weighed in their success. These men were warriors, yes, and they were acute logisticians. Yet, Alexander the Great seems to have overpowered the very definition of logistics while leading his army and conquering his enemies.

Reading some of his words, such as “My logisticians are a humourless lot…they know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay”, his social, or interpersonal skills may be questionable. However there is no doubt about his leadership talent (even with dehydrated soldiers crossing the Gedrosian desert. He did not have half of the information one can easily get through various means nowadays, yet he dared and traced his own path, riding ahead with confidence, trusting his guts and calculations to get to his goal. He was thorough in the steps he was taking, making his strategy sharp and infallible.

Now, did this make him a great logistician? Maybe. He undoubtedly was creative and absolutely focused on his ideas. His planning flirted with being impeccable, which makes him a contender for an imaginary logistics hall of fame. Napoleon could qualify too: he may just have lacked humility though. Locking their right brain’s ideas in and transferring them to their left brain to reach their goals proved to make them influential, and authoritative too. From a more human standpoint, their strategies could arguably raise concern. Yes it was war, and their manners might have inspired power-driven fanatics later in history who gambled (or still are gambling) on innocent people to satisfy an excessive ego.

I have met accomplished logisticians with an incredible logic, an inspiring curiosity in Life and indisputable tactics. Yet their main characteristics reside in their reserve: by no mean, they ever spread fear among their competitors (the word “enemy” belongs elsewhere), and they are simply unassuming professionals. Their ability in shifting and combining divergent ideas is a lesson in logistics strategy, constantly questioning what they think they know and challenging any detail they may have been exposed to in the past. Thriving backstage to make sure every detail shines on stage is a delicate art to master: great logisticians do not get talked about, unless their strategy fails. That is why most prefer staying away from the limelight.