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There are no limits to people’s capabilities 

Bill Rollo, formerly of the British Army, says you’d be amazed at just what your people are capable of. They can perform way beyond what they think they can. 

Bill Rollo, formerly of the British Army, says you’d be amazed at just what your people are capable of. They can perform way beyond what they think they can!

“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 edited version of this Clear Lesson – watch the video for the full story.

About Bill Rollo

Lieutenant General Sir William Rollo was deployed as General Officer Commanding Multi-National Division (South East), Iraq. In July 2007 he was deployed again – this time as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq.

He was appointed Adjutant-General to the Forces in March 2008. Then in December 2009 he was made Commander Force Development and Training and in 2010 he was made Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel and Training)

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours List and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2010 New Year Honours.

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