February 28; In Every Human Interaction Someone Is Selling; Someone Is Buying
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


28 February

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge…

Proverbs 19:2a

In Every Human Interaction Someone Is Selling; Someone Is Buying


It was the most important presentation in half a century.  The sale was not made and 50,000 men died.

In November 1965 Charles Cooper was a young staffer assisting his boss, Earle Wheeler who was making a recommendation to the Big Boss for the organization’s strategic direction.

The Big Boss had to decide between two strategies, one from Earle, who had wisdom and judgment and experience. The other strategic direction was from Robert who ran an academic team of whiz kids.

The Big Boss had to choose between nearly opposite recommendations from Earle and Robert.

Although the pitch was done decades ago, Charles Cooper remembers it as if it were yesterday. Cooper was the young man holding the flip chart for Earle Wheeler; an eyewitness to history.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson picked the recommendation from his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara over the request of his Joint Chiefs of Staff General Earle Wheeler.  LBJ and McNamara had decided how to win the Vietnam War.

And made the bloodiest mistake of the last 50 years.

Why? Because General Earle Wheeler could not sell.

The Generals wanted to do big military stuff: overwhelming force, complete destruction, crushing the morale of the enemy and their communist friends.  The civilian leadership, the Secretary of Defense wanted to implement a measured response, an incremental escalation, a tit-for-tat; hoping to avoid a feared World War III with China.

Yes, LBJ should have been smart enough to adopt the counsel of his top Generals, but he didn’t and didn’t have to. It is the responsibility of the advisor (the sales guy) to persuade the boss on the benefits of the recommendation. The boss (the customer) does not have to buy anything that is being sold to him.

And so the president bought the wrong strategic package. He used the wrong facts.

The first part of Proverbs 19:2a says, It is not good to have zeal without knowledge…

But was not the entirely fault of the president.  It was the fault of the military: the failure to influence the president.

Freedom loving countries finally defeated communism in the Cold War but it might have ended sooner with an effective sales pitch.



You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *