The battle could be won or lost without the construction of good latrines.
Two things consumed (well there may be more) George Washington’s mind when he took over as the military chief of the Americas in 1776. Should he attack Boston (which he did not) and strategically implementing a plan to build, maintain and inspect latrines. You may think, this is not the thing of Generals and leaders, but it is and let me explain.
The early militia of pre-independence America was made up of young farmers who had enough land to do their “business” pretty much wherever they wanted without any real health issues. But this was not the case when you bring 500 young men together in a small area for an extended period of time. It was vital at the onset of establishing an outpost and maintaining that outpost that there needed to be latrines. For the sake of the men’s health and obvious sanitary and cleanliness reasons there needed to be loos. Here is an excerpt from Washington to his Quartermasters and their sergeants,
“(You) are to cause proper necessarys (latrines) to be erected at convenient distances from the barracks in which their men are lodged, and see that those necessarys are frequently filled up.” “Quartermasters are responsible for the logistics of their regiments and sergeants are their assistants.” Just how important was this to Washington, “Any person who shall be discovered easing himself easing himself elsewhere is to be instantly confined and brought before a regimental court-martial.”
I pondered these words/thoughts this morning on leadership, “building latrines.” In order to achieve the bigger things in a battle we need to ensure that we are constantly aware of, reviewing and doing the small things well.
For us at The Lending Journey this means constant review of and discussion of weekly collections of loans and the handing of delinquent payments. Often I have thought, “this is the last thing that I want to do, I want to be more involved in the social justice side of what we do. I want to win the battle.
What I have learned from Washington is that doing the small things well (that may appear insignificant) have a huge impact on achieving greater goals.