Saturday, June 25, 2011


The Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, was the British "Little Big Horn". Like the battle where Custer met his fate, a group of soldiers with modern equipment, tactics and weaponry was defeated by a larger group of indigenous warriors largely armed with primitive weapons.

At Isandlwana, nearly 1300 British troops were slaughtered as their army invaded Zululand in South Africa.

Although several reasons are known to have caused(and a few others are debated to have caused) this remarkable defeat, here is one that is fairly well known:

The troopers on the line only had a limited supply of ammo. When they exhausted their supply, as will quickly happen when you are firing into a charging horde of spear wielding warriors screaming for your blood, re-supply was nearly impossible.

The ammo boxes were kept far from the front. When they were acquired, you had to have a special screw driver to open them. And, they were controlled by fanatical supply sergeants that required the proper procedures prior to issue. Maybe this wouldn't be a problem under normal circumstances (no, I take that back. I am sure it was tortuous), but when you and all your friends are about to be killed due to a lack of ammo, it must have been a bit frustrating.

While I have never been the head of any organization with more than a couple of hundred people running around, I have seen that larger organizations still really enjoy creating frustrating situations. It will probably never change.

So, I am not sure if you should take this as a warning to not let the organization you are involved with get bogged down in the mire of bureaucracy or as an encouragement that at least you are not facing 20,000 Zulus intent on stabbing you with a short spear, so you should lighten up and not get so frustrated with the bureaucratic bungling that you face where you work. You decide.

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