Measure is unceasing


Auftragstaktik is a method of command and delegation where the commander gives subordinates a clearly-defined objective, high-level details, and the tools needed to accomplish their objective. The subordinates have clear operational freedom, which leaves command to focus on architecting strategic decisions.

It has an interesting historical and semi-mythical background. After Napoleon outclassed the rest of Europe, the Prussians realized that they needed to up their game, and developed this methodology. With it, Germany became a military superpower. These days, though, armies have given up on having independent and semi-insubordinate general troops, and instead the Auftragstaktik stance seems to be reserved for special forces, like e.g., Navy Seals.

But beyond the semi-historical overview from the last paragraph, the idea of Auftragstaktik is useful to me as an ideal to aspire to implement. It is my preferred method of command, and my preferred method of being commanded. It stands in contrast to micromanaging. It avoids alienation as characterized by Marx, where the worker doesn’t have control of their own actions, which kills the soul. Corny as it sounds, if you have competent subordinates, why not give them wide berth to act as special forces rather than as corporate drones?

A while ago, I cleaned up a bit the Wikipedia page on this concept, and now I am writting this post so that it becomes more widely known across my circles. We need more people to carry A Message to Garcia, but independence benefits from a system of incentivization and control that enables it.