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Barry Posner
Dean/Scholar

Barry Posner

Barry Posner is Dean of the Leavey School of Business and Professor of Leadership at Santa Clara University.

A time and place for debate

Q: In confronting the issue of Gen. McChrystal's apparent insubordination, did President Obama have any choice but to remove him? Going forward, what can Gen. Petraeus do to overcome this dramatic shakeup and keep his troops reassured and on mission?

This wasn't a tough call, and General McChrystal should have known what to expect from making his disagreements as public comments (and, if not, then he should have been relieved because of incompetence).

Obama called it "debate not division" and in the corporate sector its called "constructive controversy" or make sure that everyone gets a chance to share their ideas but once a decision has been made that's the end of the debate and commitment is called for. General Petraeus understands this process well. And, I suspect this is understood as well by those within the military and/or corporate ranks.

The finer line to walk is making certain that dissent and disagreement is really allowed as part of the discussion because if it is marginalized or missing than the result, as President Kennedy learned, is a Bay of Pigs fiasco.

By Barry Posner

 |  June 23, 2010; 4:54 PM ET
Category:  Wartime Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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