Thursday, June 7, 2012

Damn the Torpedoes

Admiral David Glasgow Farragut was the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy at the time of the American Civil War. He was aboard Hartford entering Mobile Bay (Alabama) on August 5th in 1864, leading a fleet of ships when the lead monitor, Tecumseh, was demolished by a mine. Disaster seemed imminent. Farragut gave the orders embodied by the famous words, “Damn the torpedoes.” Full speed ahead! The Battle of Mobile Bay is one of the iconic confrontations of the Civil War at sea. The charge into Mobile Bay may have been the most dramatic moment of the naval portion of the war. The courage and conviction it takes to assume leadership with decisiveness in the face of uncertainty and adversity is remarkable. The battle cry is an inspiration for us all. We need to keep moving ahead. We need to be positive. We need to have faith. We need to believe that we will prevail. 

Keep in mind, no one can have enough information to predict the outcomes of choices we make, no matter how well informed we are. In leadership roles we are adding weight to our decisions, because they can have an impact on those who have placed their confidence in our abilities. We must prepare well and recognize the risk. There will always be times when you must take calculated risks and charge forward. Most of us are fortunate that we do not have to make judgments in the heat of battle. Still, let’s face it; we all deal with upsets, loss and obstacles as we live our lives. Be brave. Be smart. Be confident. In spite of your best efforts you may still find yourself up against considerable odds. 

Damn the torpedoes!

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