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Mission Accomplishment vs. Troop Welfare...

In the Marine Corps we were taught the Marines have 2 objectives...

1. Mission Accomplishment
2. Troop Welfare

In that order... not ever up for discussion on the order of priority.

At 18 years old, just outta Boot Camp,  you think you're indestructible, you don't care about your own welfare, "Let's just get assigned a mission, go kick its ass and then come back for a beer" --( you could have a beer at the enlisted club at 18 then :).

Then I moved into Team Leader spot and it's crazy... but at 21 years old now you have 5, 18-20 year olds whose lives can depend on your decisions and the calls you make. All of a sudden you get why "Troop Welfare" is the only other thing in the world that the Marine Corps made one of its organizational objectives. But the key is this... Mission Accomplishment is still the #1 objective and in this case...the consequences to the Marines in your  team can be as dire and horrible as they come. But Mission Accomplishment is still top objective. It's a concept that a fat, old Former Marine (now 13 years removed from it) still believes in... still applies to life situations.. with way less serious consequences involved... but still very strict adherence to the concept.

Let's try and apply it to some real world examples:

The key to finding complete success using U.S.M.C. style objectives is really knowing what your mission is/should be.

1. Finances:

This is one that's easy...

Mission: To achieve as quickly as possible a true state of financial independence. (financial independence defined as: The ability to buy within our means EVERYTHING we need, the ability to put away enough money that we will remain financially independent til we die and have enough money left over to have just a little bit too much fun.)

Whose the troops: Our family

Troop Welfare Issues:

 To be able to meet the needs and put enough away each month for retirement, our family sacrifices.

  •  We drove cars that we have a total of $3,700 dollars invested in purchasing. They are old, one breaks down every once in while and it embarrasses my kids everyone in a while. (Think how embarrassed they will be when I am retired at 50 and come visit them in shorts and black socks every weekend... that's what drives me) I care that it embarrasses them... I don't like it... but we are accomplishing the mission.
  • We live in a little bitty house... seriously 4 of us in 1200 square feet, with a teenage girl... its pretty amazing no one has gotten shot yet. Our kids can't really "get away" from us with out going outside... but it's paid off... and we are accomplishing the mission.
It's not like we live like paupers and we work hard to make more money to continually improve the situation... but keeping mission accomplishment as the dead set #1 objective is the crucial aspect to getting to where we wanna be.

2. Parenting:

This one is actually easier than Finances.

Mission: To raise kids that have the life skills and discipline to achieve whatever success they need to achieve to be happy in life. Honestly it's that easy.

Whose the troops: My family

Troop Welfare Issues:

  • When we go through the check out line.. and they ask if they can have the teen magazine or the candy bar... we almost always say "no", its not really a finance thing... we can afford a candy bar or magazine... "it's a little crap like that won't make you happy" thing. It works. When they grow up I hope they take that lesson with them. I think they will. But man they used to get pissed at me in the check out lane. 
  • Our kids pick their stuff up and keep the house clean and do their chores. It doesn't matter if they had a late practice and it's 45 past their bedtime and they cant walk straight from fatigue. (My daughter is hilarious when deliriously tired, you would think she just drank a 1/5 of whiskey). They used to get pissed when I made 'em go outside at midnight in the snow to feed animals... no they just get that it has to be done. 
  • Our kids suffer consequences for disrespect... mostly push-ups... Both my kids will give the average person their age a run for their money in a push up contest. the get pissy and gripe and sometimes even stay mad for a couple hours... but lying and disrespect aren't cool in adult life... and they aren't tolerated in our house. We encourage them to voice their opinions... but the second they disrespect anyone... they commence getting stronger. 
  • There is "raised voices" in our house sometimes... :) Yes... I use volume to convey a point to my kids sometimes... it makes them uncomfortable (hell it makes me uncomfortable) but if a point needs made I make it. 
All this aside... I think our kids are having fun and enjoying the vast majority of their lives... Troop Welfare is an objective... it's just not objective #1.

3. Business

This one is just as easy... but it has the most potential for debate and lack of understanding by both sides of the world.

Mission: Profit - that's it...

Whose the troops: Employees AND Customer's

Troop Welfare Issues:

  • The instant "Happy Employees" or "The Customer is ALWAYS right" becomes objective #1 ... that business has just made a turn down the path to problems. 
  • General Motors was right that the customers wanted the biggest baddest gas guzzling SUV's around at a price they could afford... so they went for it... the analysis of long-term profitability on that decision was either wrong or not done. 
  • The bank in our country and the federal governments incentive programs were right that a lot of their potential customers wanted to buy homes they could never afford. The profitability of that decision... well.. it was never there. 
  • I see small businesses every week that bend over backwards for the concept of "the customer is always right." It's a new business every week, because the one from last week is outta business. 
  • I see lots of businesses paying people more than revenue can possible handle... it just won't work. 
I know someone reading this, if anyone makes it this far down, is saying "You're an idiot Cody, you have to keep your customers and employees happy." Don't forget 'Troop Welfare" is an objective... but if you don't accomplish the mission... you won't have any troops in the future.

p.s. It applies to Government as well... Mission: Keep a country sustaining the existence it's people want it to have... Troops: the people ... if you gotta tell the troops to suck it up and work a little harder to accomplish the mission... that's perfectly ok.



  1. That is why Marines are ALWAYS Marines. I think the lessons taught by the Marine Corps are life changing. I know the saying "The only people that understand Marines are Marines and the enemy" but I do see how it changes a young man. You really are the epitome of a Marine. You are active in your community, you are raising responsible children and you have a hot wife (of course)..all joking aside, we always hear about the 1% of Marines that do the wrong thing, I like to see from the other 99% that are out in the world doing the right thing! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great Comment Heidi... thank you for posting and for the kind words...

    Really though its not/shouldn't be just Marines.. its the American Spirit, its the "we are gonna make it through even if the getting there sucks for us and our loved ones." Its... "accomplishing my goals is more important than being comfortable right now..." I could wrote for hours on this because I feel like so many folks don't get it....

  3. Sant Ritz's charming address offers a world of opportunities for your little ones in the future.the interlace condo


I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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