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Better business execution turns ‘mission impossible’ into a success

The Commando Way: Better Business Execution
By Damian McKinney

Military commandos cope with uncertainty daily, they know how to avoid internal friction to achieve a successful mission (failure often equates to death).

In this book author Damian McKinney, a former Royal Marine Commando and founder of award-winning international consultancy McKinney Rogers, asks six apparently simple questions. These reveal the principles of ‘better business execution’ – the ability of some organisations to effectively execute their strategy quickly, in contrast to others where different parts of the business are pulling in different directions.

Royal Marines Commando-turned-successful entrepreneur, Damian McKinney, opens The Commando Way with a piece of bad news and a piece of good news. Let’s start with the bad news, ‘uncertainty is now the norm’. And the good news, ‘businesses have never been so well-equipped to deal with such uncertainty’.

Written in a clear, succinct, matter-of-fact style, The Commando Way, shows companies how to achieve better business execution. Damian (who owns an international business, now based in 9 countries, and counts Walmart, Diageo, Pfizer, and the National Football League among his clients) explains why his experience as a Commando in the Royal Marines helps him thrive in today’s tough business environment.

Damian McKinney said: “A workforce goes to work. The military goes to war. There are parallels between the two, as well as similarities in the language used… Business people talk the talk of war, but they rarely show signs of understanding its meaning.

“They want to show they’re fighting a constant battle to keep ahead of the opposition, to fend off guerrilla attacks, to seize the high ground from the enemy - the stuff of Hollywood action movies. But they’re fighting the wrong war in the wrong way. Let’s call a truce and take a calmer look at how the insights from the military should be applied in business.”

For example, where are you going? Vision is essential in an enterprise, and this vision must be set within a timeframe. So, JFK aimed ‘to put a man on the moon and return him to earth by the end of the decade’. When Apollo exploded on the launch pad in 1967, the astronauts in training decided to go ahead with the project – despite the death of Gus Grissom, a close colleague.

Leaders must be relentless, always keeping their vision clearly in mind, and communicating it across their workforce.

Occasionally a company must do sacrifices to keep aligned with its vision – Steve Jobs axed Apple’s printer division which brought in $2 billion revenue as it didn’t fit the core strategy. Such sacrifices will pay off in the long-run.

How to you know you’re winning? ‘Monitor, monitor, monitor again.’ One of the examples Damian provides in this chapter is East African Breweries (EABL) who found itself controlling 90% of the market in Kenya when SAB withdrew from this territory.

EABL had two key aims: fulfill efficiently such unexpected demand, and cope with the country’s uncertain political climate. Among others, the company introduced ‘operational rehearsal’ scenarios where the board and employees would enact their response to potential crises. A typical feature of army training, ‘operational rehearsals’ boost the business’s confidence and sharpen its strategic vision.

So, if a business has got clear values, knows how to achieve them, clearly communicates the strategy to its employees, and is able to stir all people involved – from the boardroom to the postroom – towards this goal, they will be a winner in today’s business warfare. This might sound easy to achieve, but if one pauses and thinks it is far from obvious.

After all commandos are trained to think not just to act. The Commando Way shows how to implement the company’s objectives not by strength but by guile.

What business leaders say about the book:

“What Damian has achieved in such a short time with his business is extraordinary… He will always find a way to do what others tell him ‘can’t be done’. That Makes Damian’s thoughts worth listening to, his words worth reading.”
From the Foreword by Neville Isdell, former Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola

"McKinney is insightful, focused on execution and anchored in reality. This book clearly lays out what companies need to do in order to deliver extraordinary top line growth"
Andy Fennel, Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo

“The Commando Way should be added to the shelf of any CEO who believes in empowering teams and leaders. McKinney’s approach, based on his military experience, results in vision, alignment, transparency and better business execution”
David Haines, CEO, Grohe AG

"In an uncertain environment whose challenges seem without precedent, McKinney reminds us that focus and flexibility collectively hold the key to extraordinary business execution".
Duncan Niederauer, CEO and Director of NYSE Euronext

Available on Amazon, from WH Smith and elsewhere in UK and USA.

LID Publishing,, Paperback – 192 pp - £12.99
ISBN 978-1-907794-21-6


About the author:

Damian McKinney founded McKinney Rogers in May 1999 in the U.K. The firm now has offices on every sub-continent. Damian has overseen the transformational growth of the business, which has led to McKinney Rogers being recognized as one of the fastest growing private companies in the UK.

McKinney Roger’s past and present clients include: Heineken, Mistubishi, Smith Kline Beecham, Lockheed Martin, HBO, Grohe, Diageo, Bacardi, Wirtz, NFL, and Walmart.

Prior to founding McKinney Rogers, Damian spent 18 years as a Royal Marines Commando, leaving as a Lieutenant Colonel. Damian was recognized a number of times for his conduct, including receiving an MBE from the Queen, and several commendations from allied countries, including the US.

For more information or a review copy, please contact James Wright on 020 7242 2286 –

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