Sir William Slim on His Leadership Motto: No Details, No Paper, And No Regrets

I saw this Sir William Slim video and speech today and watched the whole 45 minutes. It is an outstanding speech on what it means to be in command. He speaks of moral verses physical courage and how moral courage is a necessity for leaders who want to inspire trust that leads to action. He also discusses the importance of adaptability and using ones imagination in efforts to win in high stakes situations. And my favorite part to which i think we in policing can learn much from as we continue to march in the direction of more control, more paper and damn near panic and regret over every decision that is made, Sir William Slim talks about the opposite being effective when he gives his ideas on "No Details, no paper and no regrets." Listen and become more risk savvy, instead of risk adverse.

“I had a sort of a motto, “No details, no paper, and no regrets.” No details-don’t go about setting machine guns on different sides of bushes. That is done a damn sight better by a platoon commander. Then, no paper. You cannot entirely do without paper, but you can get rid of quite a lot of it. Do not have people coming to you with huge files, telling you all about it. Make the man explain it; and if he cannot explain it, get somebody else who can. When I say “no regrets”, that is important. You do the best you can. You may have gotten it wrong; you may have lost a battle. You may even have lost a good many of your men’s lives which hurts more, but do not have regrets. Do not sit in the corner and say, “Oh, If I had only gone to the left instead of the right,” or “If I had only fought in front of the river instead of behind it.” You have done the best you could-it hasn’t come off. All right! What’s the next problem? Get on to that. Do not sit in the corner weeping about what you might have done. No details, no paper, no regrets”

-Field Marshall Williams Slim (1891-1970)