The Consequences of Overreaching

The Wall Street Journal recently published this article titled, Fast-Tracked Aircraft Certification, Pushed by Boeing, Comes Under the Spotlight

My next book is about, in part, OVERREACHING, and how leaders often go too far and take too much…

One of the common paths of overreaching, I have concluded, is GOING TOO FAST…and cutting corners in the ZEST to get there.

Nearly every book on Custer’s last stand indicates that he was in a hurry for a victory because he wanted the news to reach the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia before it ended.  His rush for glory led him to attack before he KNEW the situation he was entering. 

“We scouts thought there were too many Indians for Custer to fight…It was the biggest Indian camp I had ever seen.”
–White Man Runs Him, Crow scout

“Hadn’t we better keep the regiment together, General?  If this is as big a camp as they say, we’ll need every man we have.”
Captain Frederick Benteen to General Custer


“You have your orders.”
Custer to Benteen

That story of defeat is also full of critical moments where the leader did NOT listening to those around him. 

I have no way of knowing if Boeing hurried for certification or not, but I do know that hurrying is a form of overreaching and that overreaching always has consequences.