May 20; Managing Talent: Shooting Pictures To A Shooting War;
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Five: Hiring; 20 May

Do you see someone skilled in their work?

They will serve before kings;

they will not serve before officials of low rank.

Proverbs 22:29

Managing Talent: Shooting Pictures To A Shooting War

Allies

The BBC said ‘no.’ There may have been a war on—but to deal with those Americans? That will not do. They are so provincial, so very ordinary. So competitive.

Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall anticipated this friction between friends and appointed General Eisenhower as the Allied Supreme Commander to lead the invasion into Europe from British Islands in WWII. Eisenhower had the ability to work across cultures with the prickly US cousins.

Marshall made a good hire in Eisenhower. And Eisenhower also made a particularly good hire.

The military mantra is to ‘move, shoot and communicate.’ And the cross-cultural communications would be vital for coordination between the Allied forces and the local British Broadcast Company. General Eisenhower needed a leader who could manage the varied international interests and technical compatibilities.

He didn’t turn to his traditional Army Signal Corps commanders who would normally manage the electronic infrastructure.

Where could Eisenhower turn when the fate of the Free World hung in the balance? Where could he find a man experienced in managing big personalities, powerful interests, petty jealousies and headline seeking egomaniacs?

Television.

David Sarnoff was president of RCA and its subsidiary NBC. Sarnoff was the forward thinking business strategist who promoted the infant TV industry that combined sight and sound. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first president to appear on Sarnoff’s new tube in the New York World’s Fairgrounds in 1939. It was entertainment and work. More work would follow.

Sarnoff was a Jewish immigrant from Russia who deeply loved his adopted country. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Sarnoff contacted President Roosevelt and said, “all of our facilities …are at your instant service.” Sarnoff would serve on Eisenhower’s communication team. The RCA president would soon be picked for a key assignment.

Eisenhower wanted the best senior executive in the country to manage the communications links for D-Day on the invasion of Nazi controlled Europe. Sarnoff would oversee the radio network to connect the Allies; the British, Canadians and Americans; each separated by a common language as the old joke goes.

Aligning technologies was a relatively easy challenge then as it is now. The real work is always the coordination with the resources and competing power centers—the people. Sarnoff was gifted in getting things done through other people — organizational bureaucracies and cranky engineers.

But even the simple was complicated. The proud BBC would not be cooperating with that (Yankee and Jewish) Colonial in wiring up the media pool for reporters.

The BBC would at first say no to Sarnoff —But the Prime Minister Winston Churchill deftly overruled his own advisors and permitted the necessary communication cooperation.

Later Eisenhower would recognize David Sarnoff and promote him to Brigadier General. Even after the war he was known as “The General” and he was proud of his Flag rank and star.

Sarnoff would be buried with his general’s star. He died in 1971. His coffin was draped with the American Flag.

Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. Proverbs 22:29.

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