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The Art of Action: Leadership that Closes the Gaps between Plans, Actions and Results by Stephen Bungay

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FRICTION AND NONLINEARITY

Clausewitz first used the term “friction” in a letter to his future wife written on 29 September 1806, just a fortnight before the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt. The assembling Prussian Army had three commanders-in-chief and two chiefs-of-staff, one of whom was Scharnhorst. They all disagreed about what to do, and Clausewitz laments the difficulties Scharnhorst had in arriving at a single coherent plan of deployment “when he is paralyzed by constant friction with the opinions of others.”18 The word is used to describe the effect of a clash of views between individuals which slowed down decision making. The source is internal, confined in this case to the top leadership.

The image clearly stayed in his mind and expanded. Five ...

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