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This is the first of two written assignments that will deal with the lessons to be...

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This is the first of two written assignments that will deal with the lessons to be learned from the American experience of the Vietnam War. (We are in the 5th week). This assignment deals specifically with military lessons learned.

By your own orientation to cooperative work in a mission-driven organization like the armed forces, do you consider yourself to be a strategic thinker, a tactical planner, or a logistician? (I am a Registered Nurse who works night shift for a Critical Acute Care facility with patients on life support). How do you determine that, and how does your own daily life and work demonstrate that?

Then, with your own uderstanding of what cooperation and support you need from others involved, what do you need from others in their roles to accomplish your own work successfully? The nursing team must work together as one, have organization, and planning skills, etc....

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Of course, the answer to this is going to vary from person to person.  An answer that one of us gives is not going to really fit with you because you are a different person.  Because of that, let me give some suggestions for how to approach this question.

In order to answer this, we need to think about the personal qualities that are needed for each of these types of work.  Tactics, in military terms, are the things that relatively small units do on a small scale.  Tactics have to do with how a unit carries out a mission that has been specified for them.  Thus, a person who is a good tactician will think in very practical terms.  They will be best at devising ways to achieve a goal that is set for them. 

Strategy is somewhat more of a “big picture” thing.  Strategy involves determining how to win a war or to win a major campaign.  In other words, it involves deciding on what the objectives for the smaller units will be.  It involves an ability to see the big picture and to understand what allows an enemy to function as a viable threat.

Logistics can be seen as the most cerebral of all of these areas.  Logisticians must predict what supplies will be needed, where they will be needed, and in what order they will be needed.  They must then make plans (taking into account their ability to move the various kinds of supplies) that will get the supplies to the appropriate places at the appropriate times.  Logistics has more “moving parts” and more unpredictable aspects to it than the other two.

Thus, what you need to do is to decide which of these you would be able to be good at. 

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akannan's profile pic

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Different approaches can be taken in answering the question. Given how there is a personalized frame of reference in what you consider yourself to be in your professional capacity, you will have to do some introspection and generate your answer from this frame of reference.  The strategic thinker sees the long term vision in which tactics become a means to achieve this conception, while logistics are the small steps needed to be taken in order to move closer to the strategic and tactical goals.

You would be best able to speak of your life as a Registered Nurse and how what you do embraces the different types of thinkers.  I think that you could argue that what you do on a nightly basis, the small tasks that must be carried out, are examples of the logistician aspect of your being.  Making rounds to patients, ensuring that patient medicine has been distributed, and that all patient monitoring is in accordance to diagnosis are all parts of this. Naturally, these feed into the larger frames of reference. The strategic purpose is to enhance overall patient wellness.  That is the ultimate goal and the strategy is to develop an individualized and patient centered approach that achieves this.  The specific diagnosis and following it becomes the tactic employed.  What you do, the exact nature of your work on a nightly basis, can be seen as examples of being a strategic thinker, a tactical planner, or a logistician.  Ideally, everyone's jobs consist of all three forms of thought, as vision and understanding underscores even the smallest of actions.  What we do and how we do it are examples of each of the three forms of thought in action.

In terms of establishing what you need from others in their roles, I think that specific experience can speak to the need for interdependency.  One aspect of this would be that competent doctors are needed to provide the strategy for wellness.  Trained diagnoses become the means through which a strategy can be articulated.  Being able to work with medical staff to develop the tactics where this strategy can be achieved, and communicating with other nurses and staff members can be how logistics are established in order to achieve the larger strategy and tactics.  I think that this is where the need for communication and effective interdependence helps to define where all three forms of thought converge.  Your personal experience and what you do on a daily basis is going to be critical in being able to see where the lines exist between tactics, strategy, and logistics on a daily basis.

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