The Army Officer's Test

I find this a useful parable about leadership, among other things.


You are a lieutenant in the army. In front of you is a sergeant, two privates, fifty feet of rope, a twenty foot pole, and an American flag. In 30 seconds or less, erect a flagpole.

How do you do it?


"Sergeant, get that flagpole up."


  • Delegation is a pillar of leadership.
  • Sometimes the how doesn't matter, only the what.
  • Sometimes you're too far away from the problem to solve it correctly.
  • Sometimes you should get out of the way of people with different skills and let them do their job.
  • You can't do everything. Don't try.