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Twelve O'Clock High

By | November 2008
Page 1 of 3
Book Report - Twelve O’clock High
05-01-2004

“Hard luck.” This is the term used to describe the United States Air Force 918 Bomb Squad during World War II. At a critical time in the war against the German Luftwaffe, the airmen are subjected to a new strategy dubbed “daylight precision bombing.” As a result, the bomb squad’s accuracy increases, as well as, their casualty rate. Morale of the 918 is continually sinking along with their performance. At this challenging time, command-orders demand “maximum effort” from the squads. Brigadier General Frank Savage is tasked with leading the 918 bomb squad to comply with this order. Short on supplies, equipment, and troop morale, he must provide the leadership required to reach this highest attainable level of performance. General Savage arrives at the base with a commitment and determination to revitalize the 918 bomb squad. Armed with only a vision, he sets out to provide the crew with something to be proud of and take ownership in. He realizes the crew needs a common goal, a reason to push forward and perform at their very best. In other words, they must perform as a team. General Savage brings a mix of leadership and management to the base in order to accomplish this mission. The 918 is in bad need of the General’s transformative style of leadership to shape and elevate the motives and goals of the troops. His primary intention is to have leadership at all levels, and this can only be accomplished through empowerment. By enhancing the troops’ competence and confidence in their abilities, listening to their ideas and acting upon them, by involving them in important decision making, and by acknowledging and giving credit for their contributions, the General will enable the troops to take ownership of and responsibility for their own success. He knows that troops who feel weak, incompetent, and insignificant will consistently underperform. Therefore, the General must increase their sense of self-confidence,...

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