Management tips delivered in historical context


Members of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce picked up a few management tips yesterday from consultant Todd Forsythe, who held up Gen. Ulysses S. Grant as the embodiment of how supervisors should treat their employees.

The speech -- "Management Lessons From the Civil War" -- was given as part of the chamber's monthly luncheon series. About 80 people attended the event, held at the Wakefield Valley Golf Club in Westminster.

Forsythe, who owns Novus Consulting Group Inc. in Frederick, quoted from the book "Campaigning With Grant," by Gen. Horace Porter, in setting out several examples of impressive management skills.

In one instance, he described how an officer approached Grant in a panic because Gen. Robert E. Lee was advancing on their base.

Grant took his cigar out his mouth and replied that he was tired of his men constantly worrying about Lee's actions, Forsythe said, and that the men instead should worry about how they handled themselves.

"This, in New Age parlance, is called being proactive," Forsythe said. "Don't worry about your competition; make your competition worry about you."

He praised Grant's skill at delegating and his ability to make soldiers feel empowered.

The book says Grant reportedly told one of his men: I feel every confidence that you will do the best, and will leave you as far as possible to act on your own judgment, and not embarrass you with orders and instructions.

"We hear a lot of talk about empowerment, and this is not a new idea," Forsythe told the group. "If what you're doing does not match what Grant was doing, then you're not doing it."

The chamber's next luncheon will be March 11 at A Grand Affair in Hampstead. The topic will be crime avoidance with speaker Penny Anderson of the American Red Cross of Central Maryland.

Pub Date: 2/12/99

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