Maneuver and Values-Based Leadership in Business

Interactive forum for the exchange of ideas pertaining to: the experiences of the change management consulting and hands-on leadership training firm, Santamaria & Martino LLC and the message of our book, The Marine Corps Way, which applies military strategy and leadership to business

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Given that maneuver requires a selfless approach to leadership, an over-arching theme to keep in the back of your mind as you read our postings each month is Business-Team-Self:

Your business exists first and foremost to make a profit. Your team is indispensable in accomplishing that objective. You exist to support your team and to enable them to do their respective jobs.

As you prioritize your efforts and make difficult decisions, keep this hierarchy in mind, and constantly challenge yourself to overcome your own tendencies toward self-interest:

  • When your supervisor praises you, do you take credit? Or do you pass credit on to your team?
  • When things go awry, do you assign blame? Or do you step up, assume responsibility for the shortcoming, and champion a solution?
  • Do you expect to be listened to? Or do you aggressively seek and listen to your team’s insights and feedback?
  • Do you expect to only have to say something once? Or are you constantly repeating and reinforcing your vision and values, as exasperating as it may be?
  • Do you seek to derive power and influence by hoarding new information? Or do you share information freely with other parts of your organization?
  • Do you and your team “lob” things over the proverbial wall? Or do you ensure that hand-offs are smooth and information flowing downstream is clearly understood and acknowledged?
  • Do you put off uncertain or extremely difficult tasks because they are unpleasant to you? Or do you put these tasks at the top of your “to-do” list?
  • In uncertain situations, do you focus a disproportionate amount of effort on familiar but non-essential tasks? Or do you attack the most critical aspects of the challenge at hand, even if they are out of your “comfort zone”?
  • Do you manage resources? Or do you lead people?

Practical Application of Business-Team-Self

One of our seminar clients went so far as to make Business-Team-Self an integral part of its company culture. “B-T-S” signs are posted in conference rooms and at workstations. Almost all noteworthy communications from senior management include references to “B-T-S”. Before meetings are adjourned, team members ask each other if the consensus they have reached is consistent with “B-T-S”. Finally, all employees are asked in performance evaluations to describe specific instances where their actions have exemplified “B-T-S”.

Please send an e-mail to if you would like us to notify you of new postings, which will occur on the fifth day of each month


Welcome to our weblog (more commonly known as a “blog”). We hope you find our postings relevant and interesting, and we strongly encourage you to post your own questions, comments, and insights.

For the past two years, our firm, Santamaria & Martino LLC, has been helping companies: 1) formulate and implement strategy, 2) encourage behavioral and cultural change, and 3) develop leadership capacity. Owing to our extensive interaction with a large number of talented clients and bright readers, our ideas and approach, which trace their origins to our book, The Marine Corps Way, have evolved considerably.

With this blog, our intent is to build upon our interaction with you and create something more than a monthly newsletter. By sharing our experiences and lessons learned and soliciting your feedback and insights, we hope to establish a forum for the exchange of ideas pertaining to maneuver and values-based leadership in business.

On the fifth day of each month, we will post our thoughts on a real-world challenge that one or many of our clients have faced. Specific topics we plan to cover through the end of 2005 include:

  • How to sell solutions instead of pushing products
  • How to encourage behavioral and cultural change in your organization through: cascading communication of intent, formulation of meaningful core values, and recognition of superior achievement
  • How to develop leaders through “hands-on” experiential learning opportunities
  • How to accelerate time-to-market (for you techies, we’ll be talking about our experience with agile development methodologies here)
  • How to break down barriers to cross-functional cooperation
  • Anything else that you suggest

As the repeated use of “how to” suggests, all postings will be practical, tangible, and fact-based. Each will include a description of the challenge faced, the actual steps we took to resolve it, and “lessons learned” that can be generalized to similar situations.

Please send an e-mail to if you would like us to notify you of new postings, which will occur on the fifth day of each month