Desert Storm and Flawless Execution

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Charles "Chaz" Campbell

Sunday, 17 Jan 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. “The initial opening attacks of Desert Storm really signaled radical departure from the conduct of warfare in the past,” Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of the AFA’s Mitchell Institute, told Air Force Magazine. The conflict, marking its 25th anniversary on Sunday, was “a turning point in the annals of military history,” setting conditions for modern warfare by establishing expectations for low casualties on both sides, for the precision in application of force, for coalition and joint operations, and for introducing a planning approach focused on desired outcomes, rather than “simply destruction of an adversary’s forces.”

Independent of the political questions of conflict, there are two, very important ideas that the Flawless Execution method as practiced by Afterburner Inc., has introduced to the business world over the past twenty years. The first of these concepts is strategic planning focused on “desired outcomes” rather than the conventional strategy of using our strengths to overcome the competition’s weaknesses followed by the expectation that if we overwhelm the competition then we will have future success. The idea of using our limited resources to impact the most critical leverage points and thus achieve the intentionally understood strategic desired effects is critical for business success.

The second idea leveraged from Desert Storm is that collaboration with our partners is critical to the success of any plan. Furthermore, this collaboration must begin at the starting point of strategic planning. Flawless Execution uses a process of TeamStorming to involve those who will be required to ensure plan success. Once we have the proper team together, a simple framework is required to develop the plan, brief that plan, and put it into action. This framework is exactly what is represented by Flawless Execution. Many of our clients have achieved unprecedented success by engaging collaborative teams to create plans that efficiently target the most important opportunities. To the great military professionals who planned one of the most efficient campaigns in military history – Thank you! And, thanks for providing the business world with techniques that lead to business greatness.

Charles “Chaz” Campbell is the most senior member of the Afterburner Team. He recently retired from active service having achieved the rank of Brigadier General and accumulating over 30 years of service in the US Air Force and the Florida Air National Guard. During his career, Chaz has commanded at all levels within the Air Force, none more demanding than his last assignment as the Vice Commander of Air Forces North, First Air Force where he lead in the “can’t fail” environment of Air Defense of the entire United States airspace, helping ensure September 11th would not ever happen again. Chaz is a graduate of the US Air Force Fighter Weapons School, after which he was selected as an instructor for the elite Air Force fighter school. He has been combat ready in the F-4, F-16 and the F-15 with over 3,700 hours.