“When we arrived in Kosovo, the whole Serb administration had left.
So everyone – from local government to the power stations, the water pumps, the fire brigade, and the police service – had just left. Conversely, the 700,000 Kosovar Albanians who’d been kicked out proceeded to walk back in like a big football crowd over the first 10 days we were there.
What I found hugely rewarding was the fact that I had a team that I could point people at and just say, ‘Look, go and fix it.’ And they did.
The Rifle Company commanders became the town mayors of each little town, and they had to find the people, they had to deal with what the particular problems were there. They could call on my engineers for help, but it was a fairly thin resource.
My chief engineer took responsibility for power and water. One of his subordinates had a brother in Powergen and took on the big power station in Pristina.
Somebody else took on the Pristina Hotel, which was taken over by bandits one night, and the journalists were all robbed, and I realised that if I did nothing else if the journalists couldn’t get a drink in Pristina, then there’ll be chaos in Pristina until I sorted it out!
So I stood at the table one evening and said, ‘Right, I need somebody to go and run it.’ And there was a slight pause and then some good man put his hand up and said, ‘Right-oh, I’ll take that one on.’ Two months later, when we left, he’d got £2 million of UN funding, God knows how, he’d installed a general manager, the place was running. And the power station was working as well.
Your people are far more capable than you imagine that they are, providing you can get their motivation going, or they can see themselves why they have to do it and self-motivate.
They will perform again to a level way beyond what you think that they can – and they think they can too.”
This is an abridged transcript of the video lesson – watch the video for the full story!