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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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CULTURE CHANGE

It is a melancholy fact that a disproportionate number of fundamental organizational innovations have their origins in disaster. Only the prospect of perdition, it seems, releases real creativity and radical change. Our story is no exception.1

It begins on a foggy day, 14 October 1806. In the course of that day, two Prussian armies were shattered and scattered by a French army at the twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt. Built up by Frederick the Great in the eighteenth century, the Prussian Army had been the most admired and successful in Europe. Its defeat was militarily decisive and psychologically devastating.

Clausewitz was there, acting as adjutant to Prince August, who had been given command of a battalion at Auerstedt. Clausewitz’s ...

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