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Military ‘Deep Dives’ and Organizational Management: The Continuing Hazards of Hubris, Centralized Hierarchies, and Insular Perspectives
“One of my favorite perks was picking out an issue and doing what I called a “deep dive.” It’s spotting a challenge where you think you can make a difference… then throwing the weight of your position behind it.”
Jack Welch, General Electric CEO, Chairman 1981-2001
[International Joint Command] would do deep-dives where their cross-functional [future planning] group would make detailed slide presentations on very specific, relevant subjects. I found them to be about educating key leaders within the IJC, they were useful in providing information...but they were not really for decisions."
Anonymous Regional Command Planner, Afghanistan 2012.
“Hubristic CEOs…tend to pay no heed to other sources of information and viewpoints, especially when these are in conflict with their convictions.”
Pasquale Picone, Giovanni Dagnino, & Anna Mina
Within military coalitions and governmental organizations, the term ‘deep dive’ continues to gain in popularity and design application for complex conflict environments. This approach for exploring complex issues with a combination of specialized research, time, resources, and a formal senior level decision at the conclusion appears to originate from influential business practice and academia in the past decade. This is indicative of common military and government agency practice to draw inspiration from successful business practices, and vice-versa. Yet a careful examination of what business professionals define as a ‘deep dive’ reveals that the military’s version is not necessarily an imitation of the original business deep dive. It is entirely different application with the same name, or “a copy without an original.” For military and governmental agencies drawn to this concept, the ‘deep dive’ practice has become something distinct in design, providing fertile ground for critical reflection and inquiry on military organizational behaviors.
The Business Inspiration: Deep Dives for Radical Organizational Change
The business world has a particular definition on what a deep dive consists of that reflects organizational culture and the economics of for-profit organizations seeking design solutions. CEOs and senior leaders within a large firm will “bypass the entire managerial hierarchy” for complex issues that are not in a crisis-reaction state but require bold initiative. The senior leader “defines concrete objectives of corporate projects directly” and “sponsor and select those initiatives personally.” Finally, that leader remains highly involved as a powerful presence throughout the entire process well into the final stages of project implementation.
The senior leader bypasses the managerial hierarchy in order to break her organization out of habitual or institutional mindsets and procedures. Thus, they dive deeply into their organization, cutting through much of it to get down to where “the rubber meets the road” to stimulate change. By transforming the organization through new activities, the firm reconfigures the existing interdependences and processes that were the foundation of the ‘old way’ of doing business. Thus, a deep dive requires senior leadership with a distinct vision to first recognize the barriers to organizational change, bypass those and channel clear guidance to subordinate personnel that subsequently take action. The rest of the organization follows through the radical adjustment of organizational function, with that senior leader deeply involved throughout the transformation.
Taking an example from business, Steve Jobs transformed Apple from a company that built high-end tailored computers into a global multi-media player, phone, and entertainment content provider that “brought aesthetics and fashion in product design to mass consumers”. He did this through his direct involvement, which included bypassing the managerial hierarchy, transforming company objectives, and radically adjusting the organizational culture through extensive and visionary involvement. While this process works for business models, do military and other governmental agencies apply the ‘deep dive’ concept as effectively? More importantly, does the business-model deep dive approach itself offer any utility to military applications, or are other options viable for the messy and complex conflict environments the military encounters?
The Military Application: Diving Deep for Institutional Self Interests
For those in governmental, diplomatic, and operational level military organizations, the notion of conducting a deep dive is now a regular feature. Although non-doctrinal, the term ‘deep-dive’ has gained popularity over the past decade of persistent conflict and denotes the organization’s iterative focus on specific problems or elements within a larger problem set for group analysis and decision-making. An organization tasked with drug cartel problems may conduct deep dives on the entire production process of a particular drug, or perhaps focus on the agriculture and growth cycle prior to harvesting. Another organization targeting tribal warlords within a land-locked Asian region might ‘deep dive’ into tribal histories, local economic processes, or ideological tensions.
Senior military and government leaders depend on their staff to produce the best options for critical, strategic decisions that may be game-changers, so they hardly focus ‘deep dives’ on trivial subjects. Both the concept of deep dives as well as the organizational process requires investigation, as these organizational processes and cognitive mindsets establish what we consider a productive meeting and exchange of ideas. Further, the frequent application of a practice tends to build repetition and an organizational hostility to alternative processes that require a re-tooling, or even an ‘un-learning’ of your organization in order to get over a significant conceptual hurdle. Complex, messy problems tend to do this to us, whether confronting an emergent drug war in Mexico, an enduring counter-insurgency in Afghanistan, or adaptive humanitarian and medical assistance to treat disease outbreaks in Africa.
The military trend of ‘deep dives’ are generally unproductive and inhibit critical and creative thinking, as this paper will explain. Further, they often facilitate massive echo-chambers for institutionalisms, group-think, and extremely linear decision-making for senior leaders facing dynamic, complex situations. However, we conduct ‘deep dives’ because it is in our organizational nature to do so, as military and governmental agencies prefer to function within a particular mindset that embraces the hierarchical structure,  centralized authority  and linear decision-making  within our governmental functions. These core processes constitute the bulk of our doctrine, professional education, practice, language, and methodologies. 
Introducing Another Methodology: The Strategic Charrette
The dissimilar fields of design and community organizing provide us with another option beyond the deep dive approach. This alternative concept is generically termed a ‘charrette.’ For military and governmental applications, I introduce the term ‘strategic charrette’. The ‘strategic charrette’ as described in this article offers leaders another design approach that addresses several military sociological issues. It avoids some of the institutional pitfalls associated with ‘deep dives’ and embraces several critical counter-institutional elements that require high-level guidance and implementation. I will further postulate that middle management cannot execute strategic charrettes without senior leader buy-in. Institutional culture change from the pitfalls of deep-dives cannot occur without genuine leadership, guidance, and careful organizational shaping by senior leaders for strategic charrettes to seed and blossom. However, charrettes are disruptive to how the military prefers to operate and will be highly difficult to implement without significant senior leader participation throughout the process. How they should participate in a charrette is the part that will upset the most apple carts.
Defining the Deep Dive and the Preferred Mindset of the Military
All of the deep dives that I participated in were in a three or four-star General Officer headquarters for a military organization from 2011-2012. Researching for this article, I held conversations with several colleagues in other governmental agencies and across the military community of operational level planners. They too agreed that the deep dive is an increasingly popular strategic venue across a variety of governmental and military disciplines. For most military ‘deep dives’, a specialized staff element or planning team such as a Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) or Commander’s Action Group (CAG) take a complex situation and apply elements of reductionism and categorization to focus down into a specific element, genre, group, or system behavior in order to “dive deeply” and gain greater understanding through analysis. Whether the topic is how to reduce Afghan Army logistics hardware within their ‘Tashkil’ (unit authorization)  or a closer look at how the Afghan poppy season fills Taliban coffers, the overarching element of any deep dive is that it is a focused perspective in isolation from the larger system. In other words, we tend to rip components off the bicycle to understand them in the hopes that we can subsequently understand the entire bicycle collectively.
Organizational theorists use the term ‘functionalism’ to frame this mindset where the analytical framework remains universal, where we do analysis through categorization and reduction, and where there is an emphasis on the scientific process and convergent analytical processes.  Using the mindset of functionalism exclusively in generating strategic options may not be helpful in all but the most simplistic and linear of problem sets. Thus, the entire endeavor of military ‘deep dives’ is at risk of being a counter-productive exercise that we tend to use more often as we continue to face messy situations and complex strategic environments that reject categorization and reduction. Worse, the institutionalisms associated with why we are drawn to deep dive sessions illustrates some of the less functional yet deeply cherished and ritualized behaviors of our organizations and how we prefer to view the world.
In addition to the reductionist element, military and governmental deep dives possess a second element of self-relevance for the institution, often from the narrow perspective or protected territory of a sub-group or niche organization. Thus, an Afghan Army advising team promotes their efforts when tasked with a deep dive on Afghan Army elements just as a counter-narcotic task force within a larger organization will promote their relevant actions and work concerning the Afghan poppy crop prevention for the fiscal year. There is a strong element of ‘where you stand depends on where you sit’ with respect to your organization, branch, service, function, rank, and identity. RAND analyst Carl Builder studied United States military services in the late 1980s and proposed a valid argument that institutionalisms and the drive for continued self-relevance motivates the Army, Navy, and Air Force to engage in behaviors and develop plans that are potentially detrimental to overarching national objectives yet always supportive to that service’s future status and worth. This combination of reductionism coupled with institutional self-relevance (hubris) becomes counter-productive for an organization. Simultaneously, the military ‘deep dive’ decouples from the original version implicitly and moves towards institutional self-interests.
Military deep dives contain the elements of reductionism, institutional self-relevance including micro-level sections and task forces with narrow views or limited agendas. The practice of codification into doctrine and rigid behaviors translates to gains in repetition and reliable universal application, yet losses in creativity, adaptation, and novel improvisation. ‘Stay in your lane’, ‘stick to the script’ and ‘follow the rules’ are common manifestations of this mindset and many of these established patterns are so taken for granted that “they are not recognized as inhibiting the implementation of [any] new practice.”
Based on my own experiences as a military planner, many military deep dives follow a standard formula of functionalist analysis in isolation where specialized planning team products remain “close-hold” until approved by the section’s decision maker. The concepts are presented in the standard passive manner of PowerPoint slide decks, scripted briefings, and large audiences seated by hierarchical position for design topics. Below are two excerpts from deep dive experiences I had as a strategic-level planner for NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A). I attended numerous International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and NTM-A ‘deep dives’ in both formal briefings as well as events such as weekly updates over video-conference devices.
One element of our organization oversaw the advising and training of the Afghan Army, however all logistics, equipment supply, and infrastructure was generally managed by a separate element. Both the Army advising and logistics groups were principled by General Officers that worked for our 3-Star Commanding Officer. The Army element conducted their own deep dive and generated some significant recommendations in streamlining Afghan Army equipment and logistics structure, and set up a formal slide presentation to the Commander with all other NATO elements present, including DCOM-Programs, the other element responsible for equipping the Afghan Security Forces. During the briefing, the senior DCOM-Programs personnel became increasingly alarmed and frustrated. They complained during the meeting that they “had not been consulted” and “had not even seen these slides until last night.” In a critically revealing comment, the deep dive lead planner explained that “the slides could not be released until approved by our boss first [their General Officer]. Quickly, their General made some comments that silenced the Programs opposition in that forum, and the briefer assisted in cutting down discourse by reminding the audience there were more slides and limited time. The brief concluded with a “decision point” slide for the Commanding General, and has he looked around the room and asked the audience if there were any more comments or concerns, nervous eyes darted about but nothing further was said. Additionally, there was no longer any time left in the meeting, and the General that had pre-screened his planning group’s product ahead of the rest of the audience was poised ready to defend any opposition from the gathering of lower-ranked personnel not associated with his sub-element in NTM-A.
The above anecdote reflects my limited perspective and is by no means the definitive statement on military deep-dives. However, I offer this example because it reinforces several critical elements that make deep dives generally less effective than other options available. The following tensions appear valid for the popular military deep dive variation and are presented in question format.
Did the military hierarchy remain solidly intact for the process?
Was a small planning group isolated from the larger organization?
Were products “close-hold” until approved by some decision-maker?
Was a regimented slideshow used that drove discussion and the agenda?
Was there assigned seating based on status, rank, and position?
Was the planning team a close-knit group from the same organization?
Did the output or proposal result in reinforcing the relevance of the group?
Were dissenting positions invited during the process and during the brief?
A colleague of mine that also performed as a strategic-level planner Afghanistan stated the following about three deep dives he attended. His recollections further illustrate some of these patterns of behavior. Again, both his and my anecdotes are not intended to question any individual successes or failures in Afghanistan, rather to demonstrate repetitive patterns where select phenomenon are observable within most military deep dive sessions.
The first one was a deep-dive into the operations order after we had finished the mission analysis step. It resulted in the Commanding General talking to his chief advisor for an hour with the rest of the audience silent and standing by. Ultimately, we were not given any real guidance other than we could not change the structure of the organization, and we did not get an opportunity to present the slides or discuss anything.
The second deep dive I attended was where I had a speaking role as a lead strategic planner and it was to our senior Commander on our completed Operations Order. The Senior General asked me a pointed, critical question about why we were not successful thus far with earlier planning efforts. I answered him with my gut feelings on what changes in this order might increase our learning, but my answer implied a lack of success on previous efforts by elements represented in the room by other General Officers. I know this sounds funny, but it was an attempt to build a learning organization first- so we could learn…That resulted in the other Generals rapidly taking the brief over and telling him [the ISAF Commander] that we were doing all kinds of new and wondrous things and that surely the war would be won in a year or two, or at least a little longer than any of them would be deployed for. The ISAF Commander then said he had heard it all before and asked what we were doing differently; he asked this rhetorically I guess because he left right after that. My candid actions in that meeting caused some bridges to be burned due to my efforts to actually raise some critical comments about how and why we plan.
The third deep-dive I participated in was done by the Afghan National Police advising element [called Deputy Command-Police]. It was a chance for the Police Deputy Commanding General to brag to his boss about all the great things his group had been doing over the past year with the Afghan police. I attended because I had been involved in the Police as well as out of curiosity. We got about as deep as someone can wherein no one said a single critical thing and although there were about 30 PowerPoint slides, we never got past the fifth one. The Commanding General had a discussion with the other General and his chief advisor for an hour about an unrelated subject, and once time ran out, we were done. The audience was unable to participate, and the content was entirely self-congratulatory for that Police element.
These recollections above from a fellow military planner help demonstrate some of the inefficiencies and other patterns of organizational behavior that do the opposite of what the business model deep-dive process originally sought. The military deep-dive has become its own creature, a species distinguishable from the business model parent, and planners may feel trapped into only using similar processes that reinforce many institutionalisms. However, there is an alternative.
Why the ‘Strategic Charrette’ Brings Design above the Institutional Barriers
Charrettes function quite differently than deep dives whether we use the original business model or the deviant military model. They embrace a different mindset, function under a distinct set of operating factors that are rather contradictory for business, military, government planners, and staffs to consider. A charrette shares the core deep dive element where the senior leader becomes heavily involved in the process from start to final implementation, albeit in a distinct manner. 
A charrette originated from a French term for a 19th century practice of architecture students around Paris frantically cramming for their final project. On the final day it was due, a small cart (charrette) would collect them, often still scribbling in their final changes, and transport them to the university. Today, the charrette is a useful metaphor for what is a collaborative process to solve a complex problem through forum, diversity, creativity, and a non-hierarchical format that embraces critical reflection.
The charrette is most associated with architectural, engineering, and design fields “in which architects and planners collaborate with groups of people- often the general public- to solve a design problem.” Urban planners and leaders that require public or large audience concurrence with a project use the charrette process to gain public input to provide a voice to minority or dissenting positions. By involving the public and generating transparency in the project, they attempt to tap into the collaborative brainstorming sessions to generate creative and feasible solutions that work for the client as well as those users impacted by the transformation.
The charrette process requires an emphasis on collaboration and innovation without the classic barriers of institutionalism and the hierarchical structure that centralizes decision-making. Thus, the charrette seeks out minority positions and dissenting voices whereas in other approaches those positions are either marginalized or excluded from the discussion. This is counter-culture to the traditional master-planning and top-down centralized approaches that include the deep dive methodology. While the traditional charrette works for architectural, design, and public-works considerations, applying the charrette methodology to military organizations requires some adjustments. This article proposes the term ‘strategic charrette’ to distinguish this version from the classic charrette.
The strategic charrette requires us to acknowledge and confront several key phenomena in the military institution that if left unchecked will inhibit any charrette process from functioning. As stated earlier, the military hierarchy is often rigid, where rank, position, and status factor strongly into relationships, discourse, and perceptions. Our reductionist tendency within military and governmental agencies favors compartmentalization and isolation, with small teams and planning cells operating and employing numerous defenses to keep discourse and participation at a “need to know” basis. We have classification levels for security, and even within this we employ what is derogatively referred to as the practice of ‘stove-piping’ information and discourse so that while the direct hierarchy maintains centralized decision-making, the larger organization is unaware until after the fact.
We also tend to equate right and wrong with rank, status and position at times; this often occurs with ambiguous or complex problems that feature no clear answers initially. This is more pronounced in situations where a senior decision maker might be a political appointee in disagreement with another who has ‘risen through the system’ through accomplishments and experience. These are not necessarily good or bad things, but they require examination as part of the organization’s sociological framework.
A strategic charrette needs to create an environment where the rigid military hierarchy and centralized decision-making is tempered to encourage design. Clearly, no one in an organization forgets for a second who the General or Undersecretary is regardless of whether it is ‘Hawaiian Shirt Friday’ or not…what we want to encourage is a heightened awareness of the group where discourse advances due to sound argument and no fear of reprisal. A strategic charrette needs a wide, diverse audience that extends beyond the core organization and into the larger spectrum of actors, clients, customers, and participants. For instance, any strategic charrette concerning the Mexican-American border and drug violence that does not include political, military, business and law enforcement leadership from both sides of the border potentially inhibits that critical collaborative element. Or, designing military operations in Afghanistan without including the Afghan Army and Police is equally detrimental due to the marginalization of vital perspectives and voices. Ebola containment and treatment strategies that exclude ‘Doctors without Borders’ or the medical professionals and local governmental agencies from the designing process makes for fragile and likely incomplete critical and creative thinking.
Lastly, the charrette is more about the process and the activity of sensemaking instead of jumping ahead to making decisions. While outputs are critical to validate the concept, a room full of white boards and a variety of participants tend to generate richer discourse and creative innovations. Traditional military decision-making process and military deep-dive approaches often produce extensive and detailed briefings, reports, and directions in isolation. Furthermore, the senior leader cannot issue initial guidance and later return to receive the formal briefing at the end of the collaboration. This defeats the entire notion of not just the charrette process, but also the original business model of the deep dive.
The military deep dive unfortunately reflects processes that reinforce existing practices of the military organization and inhibit any radical transformation or creativity that breaks with previous mindsets. If a topic is important enough for a senior leader to desire radical transformation and truly innovative approaches in response to messy or ill-structured problems, that leader must roll up her sleeves and “get deep” into the process for the long-haul. Clearing the schedule is extremely difficult in today’s high-pace information age; however the never-ending cycle of formal briefings and “next slide, please” are no substitution for that senior leader immersing himself in a strategic charrette process or even a variation of the business model ‘deep dive’.
Suggestions on Executing a Strategic Charrette
For senior strategic leaders in governmental, military, or similar managerial positions that seek to implement a strategic charrettes, there are several suggestions to consider. First, radical change is unwelcome and often disastrous if not implemented with a deliberate, thoughtful, and careful manner. Switching from the rather routine and institutionally approved deep dive approach of reductionism, overt description of a problem with linear decision-making to the open-ended and plural democratic flavor of a charrette will upset many apple carts. Thus, even the most aggressive middle management cannot make this change without senior leadership endorsement and complete support. In other words, in order to appreciate the pitfalls of the military hierarchical structure and implement temporary processes that circumvent these obstacles, the very leadership that enforce the hierarchy must concur with the charrette structure. Without this first step, all of this is really a theoretical exercise with military sociology.
Once the leader identifies a general issue that requires a strategic charrette approach, they should build the team by seeking the wider audience of collaboration and diversity of perspectives. Clearly, operational security factors in here, yet there are many creative ways to discuss classified or restricted topics without violating the security classification. I would argue that the forces of institutionalism and the desires for self-relevance bear a far greater share of blame here in preventing diversity in planning teams. Collaboration outside of one’s organization forces a military hierarchy to share decision-making, and the wider the spectrum of actors and agencies, the greater the need for compromise and plural democratic processes versus centralized decision making. A leader developing a strategic charrette needs to embrace this aspect and encourage as wide an assortment of voices and perspectives as possible.
The framework for executing a strategic charrette requires a planning team, ideally composed of planners from multiple agencies that are flexible, cooperative, and utilize discourse and group collaboration to generate strategic options. While the business model ‘deep dive’ features the senior leader as the driving force and principle decision-maker guiding the process, a strategic charrette cannot follow suit. Instead, utilizing a ‘plural democracy’ and seeking prolonged discourse for items of significant contention provides a better approach for creativity and innovation. This is difficult due to the conditioning culture of military and governmental agencies; however the charrette planning team leaders can mitigate this through careful and critical reflection upon themselves and their organizations.
A strategic charrette, due to the inter-agency and collaborative composition of actors, requires a neutral location as well as other select factors to decouple some of the forcing functions of our own institutionalisms. Members of the charrette could dress in civilian attire and use first names only, in an effort to mitigate the aforementioned problems of rank and position inhibiting discourse and collaboration. Instead of “eagle beats oak leaf”, a strategic charrette would see “concept A has the approval of a greater majority than concept B, while concept C features a concentration of the two largest agencies’ agendas” outcomes. This change in uniform and employment of non-title names does not imply disrespect or a decrease in professionalism; it is one of many approaches to marginalize some institutionalisms.
The working environment should favor whiteboards or drawing surfaces instead of computer stations, cubicles, and multiple rooms that compartmentalize the group. A larger workspace should increase the ability for multiple combinations of various actors to generate discussion and explore options. Whiteboards and other ‘blank canvas’ surfaces offer collaboration and experimentation where there are no slide formats or channelizing constructs. Furthermore, building and briefing slides puts one person in control and the majority in a passive state; whiteboards encourage groups to stand up and participate. Charrette organizers might break a large group up into teams for various sessions; however the entire team needs to return to a larger non-hierarchical group for key presentations and decisions on the deliverable.
For final deliverables, some sort of point paper or presentation in an appropriate medium should occur, however a strategic charrette should not produce a massive slideshow or a formal and highly rehearsed briefing where the team loses sight of the process. The final product must achieve approval from the majority of the group, and minority voiced concerns need to be incorporated in some relevant fashion into the end-state. This takes a combination of nurturing the emergence of sound arguments and conducting political deal making for serious tensions. Considering the cherished status of many institutionalisms and organizationally associated behaviors, any creative solution that involves dismantling key processes or changing doctrine will face an uphill battle.
The charrette process allows proposals from minority viewpoints to gain a foothold in discourse where in other approaches such as military decision-making or deep dives they are routinely silenced. As Chairman Welch stated in the opening quote of this article, he dives deep and then “throws the weight of his position” behind pushing his idea in a hierarchically structured (albeit circumvented in some ways) organization. How can a dissenting opinion or alternatively creative approach dare to challenge the boss in this process? A strategic charrette, conducted carefully, will prevent the hierarchy from “throwing weight” and encourage extensive discourse from a wide spectrum of relevant actors through collaboration and innovation.
Not every position is useful, and some voices inject irrelevant or incompatible propositions…it is therefore up to the lead charrette planners to shape the process artfully to blend dissent with critical inquiry, and combine institutional strengths with creative risks. Senior leadership ultimately requires presentation of the charrette results in an acceptable format, and the organization phase back into the classic hierarchy with centralized control. The temporary plural democratic structure of the strategic charrette along with the suggested civilian attire and first names is only executed within the charrette to break through traditional barriers within the military institution.
Diving Deep or Riding a Charrette: What Kind of Journey are We Willing to Take?
While some problem-sets require a military or governmental organization to approach them with classical methodologies such as the military decision making model, or employ self-relevant processes such as ‘deep dives’ that work within existing hierarchies and structures, sometimes we need to break off on a different trail. The strategic charrette model offered in this article provides senior decision makers and governmental leaders with another process that functions counter-culture to accepted military methodologies and procedures. Sometimes, injecting a radically different perspective is just what an organization needs when they experience the negative effects of static mindsets and goal displacement.
By goal displacement, I refer to the organizational theory definition where “complying with the bureaucratic processes becomes the objective rather than focusing on organizational goals and values.” Often, we are unable to replace our accepted processes to experiment with new ones because we don’t know how to “drop our tools” and let go of procedures, doctrine, and practices that dominate our profession. The charrette is very different from military decision-making as well as hierarchically charged ‘deep dives’ of either business or military varieties. Yet that may be enough to drive your organization to discover a deeper understanding and novel solution to a complex, messy situation.
 Jack Welch, John Byrne, Jack: Straight From the Gut (Warner Business Books, 2001). Quoted in Howard H. Yu & Joseph L. Bower, “Taking a “Deep Dive”: What Only a Top Leader Can Do”, draft paper, (Harvard Business School, Boston: 2010) p. 2.
 Personal interview with a fellow former ISAF planner and School of Advanced Military Studies graduate conducted on 25 June, 2013. He maintained a generally positive view on the military version of the deep dive.
 Pasquale Picone, Giovanni Dagnino, Anna Mina, “The Origin of Failure: A Multidisciplinary Appraisal of the Hubris Hypothesis and Proposed Research Agenda”, The Academy of Management Perspectives (Vo. 28, No. 4, 2014) p. 456.
 Paul DiMaggio, Walter Powell. “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields,” American Sociological Review, Vol. 48, Issue 2 (1983), 152-154.
 Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (translated by Sheila Faria Glaser), (The University of Michigan Press, 2001).152-153. “We will live in this world, which for us has all the disquieting strangeness of the desert and of the simulacrum…only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains.”
 This business model does not directly translate into military and governmental applications due to intrinsic differences between government agencies and capitalistic entities.
 Yu, Bower, 6.
 Picone, Dagnino, Mina, p. 455 (Table 2). The authors observe as a positive aspect to leadership hubris that “CEOs persistently focus on their own fixed goals and strategies and keep on pursing them.”
 Yu, Bower, p.4.
 Walter Isaacson, “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs,” Harvard Business Review, April 2012, http://hbr.org/2012/04/the-real-leadership-lessons-of-steve-jobs/ (accessed on 25 June 2013).
 Michael Reed, “Reflections on the ‘Realist Turn’ in Organization and Management Studies”, Journal of Management Studies, 42:8, December 2005, p.1622.
 ‘Henry Mintzberg, “The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning,” Harvard Business Review, January-February 1994, p.108. “let conventional planners organize it, and watch how quickly the event becomes formalized (mission statements in the morning, assessment of corporate strengths and weaknesses in the afternoon…"
 M. Reed, 1622-1623. See also: Arkalgud Ramaprasad, Ian Mitroff, “On formulating strategic problems,” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1984, p.597-605. See also: Christopher B. Bingham, “the Process of Schema Emergence: Assimilation, Deconstruction, Unitization and the Plurality of Analogies,” Academy of Management Journal, (Vol. 56, No. 1, 2013), p. 27. Bingham explores how “prior technical solutions” shape how an organization selects analogies.
 David Silverman, The Theory of Organisations: A Sociological Framework (London: Heinemann, 1970) p. 131. See also: George Reed, Leadership and Systems Thinking, Defense AT&L: May-June 2006, p.10-13.
 Ori Brafman, Rod Beckstrom. The Starfish and the Spider, New York, Penguin, 2006.
 M. Reed, 1621-1643. See also: Mark Rutgers, “Be Rational! But what does it mean?” Journal of Management History, (1999), Vol. 5, No. 1, p. 27.
 Christopher Paparone, “Resurrection is Emancipation: Exploring “Strategy” as a Dead Metaphor,” Small Wars Journal, 24 June 2013, http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/resurrection-is-emancipation-exploring-%E2%80%9Cstrategy%E2%80%9D-as-a-dead-metaphor (Last accessed 25 June 2013).
 Andrew Mara, Using charrettes to perform civic engagement in technical communication classrooms and workplaces. Technical Communication Quarterly, Vol.15 (2), 215-236. See also: Jeanne Liedtka, In defense of strategy as design. California Management Review, Vol. 42 (3) 2000, 8-30.
 The professionals I consulted while researching deep-dives for this article consist of a Lieutenant Colonel who served on a Corps level staff, a Major with previous operational planner experience in a Joint organization, and several military academic professionals with various intra-governmental, Joint, and service experiences. I have kept their stories generic and removed any references to specific people or sensitive issues. None of these professionals had entirely negative or positive opinions of deep dives.
 The U.S. Army authorizes Division-level and higher headquarters and staffs to feature a Commander’s Action Group (CAG) and/or Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) for planning purposes. These teams are often between 10-30 personnel and feature specialized planners, graduates of the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies (or service equivalent), functional area strategists, and often have representation from Department of State or similar governmental agencies. The CAG/SIG operates as per the direct guidance of the General Officer in command in a variety of capacities but generally deal with high-level planning. They also are called ‘Commander’s Initiative Group’ or CIGs in some organizations.
 ‘Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan, (New York: Random House, 2007), p. 16. “Categorizing always produces reduction in true complexity.” See also: Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life, (New York: Doubleday, 1996), p. 29. “In the analytic, or reductionist approach, the parts themselves cannot be analyzed any further, except by reducing them to still smaller parts.”
 ‘Tashkil’ is the Afghan term for the assigned resources such as personnel, equipment, and major end items for Afghan security forces. It articulates the personnel, equipment, and major resources authorized and assigned so that the organization can accomplish specific tasks and missions.
 ‘Henry Mintzberg, “The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning,” Harvard Business Review, January-February 1994, p. 108. “Planning has always been about analysis- about breaking down a goal or set of intentions into steps, formalizing those steps so that they can be implemented almost automatically…”
 David Wastell, “Archarios: A Dialogue between Socrates and a Novice Manager on the Relevance of Design to Management Practice and Education”, Academy of Management Learning & Education (Vol. 13, No. 4, 2014) p. 649. The author narrates an imagined discussion and discusses the appeal of categorization here.
 Majken Shultz, Mary Jo Hatch, “Living with Multiple Paradigms: The Case of Paradigm Interplay in Organizational Culture Studies,” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1996, 537.
 Arkalgud Ramaprasad, Ian Mitroff, “On formulating strategic problems,” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1984, 597-605.
 Carl H. Builder, The Masks of War; American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis, (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1989).
 Maria Gondo, John Amis. “Variations in Practice Adoption: The Roles of Conscious Reflection and Disclosure,” Academy of Management Review, (Vol. 38, No. 2, 2013), p. 233. The authors use the term “unintentional decoupling” to explain how “some elements of the organization may be unintentionally retained, preventing the [new] practice from being fully integrated into the day-to-day work of the organization.” See also: Picone, Dagnino, Mina, p. 450.
 Karl Weick, Managing as Designing, ed. Richard J. Boland Jr, Fred Collopy, (Stanford Business Books, 2004), p. 44.
 Gondo, Amis. p. 232. See also: Helen Gunter, “Critical Approaches to Leadership in Education,” Journal of Educational Enquiry, (Vol. 2, No. 2, 2001) p. 102.
 Eric B. Dent, “Complexity Science: a Worldview Shift,” Emergence, (Vol. 1, No. 4, 1999) p. 14. See also: Wastell, p. 650.
 Jason Jay, “Navigating Paradox as a Mechanism of Change and Innovation in Hybrid Organizations,” Academy of Management Journal, (Vol. 56, No. 1, 2013) p. 140.
 Jeanne Liedtka. “In Defense of Strategy as a Design,” California Management Review, (Vol. 42, No. 3, 2000), p. 19. “Charrettes are intensive brain-storming/planning sessions in which groups of stakeholders come together. Their intention is to share, critique, and invent in a way that accelerates the development of large-scale projects.”
 Mara, p. 221.
 Ibid, p. 221.
 Eric B. Dent, “Complexity Science: a Worldview Shift,” Emergence, (1999) vol. 1(4), 5.
 Christopher Paparone, “Resurrection is Emancipation: Exploring “Strategy” as a Dead Metaphor,” Small Wars Journal, 24 June 2013, http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/resurrection-is-emancipation-exploring-%E2%80%9Cstrategy%E2%80%9D-as-a-dead-metaphor (accessed 25 June 2013).
 Shimon Naveh, Jim Schneider, Timothy Challans, The Structure of Operational Revolution; A Prolegomena (Booz, Allen, Hamilton, 2009),23. “Just as literacy facilitates bureaucratic, administrative centralization, it also makes possible the codification and logical centralization of doctrine.” See also: Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality (Anchor Books, New York, 1967). Berger and Luckmann make the case that all knowledge is socially constructed within groups and societies, and over time are institutionalized into vast, complex, and expanding bureaucracies.
 Picone, Dagnino, Mina, p. 456. See also: Pasquale Gagliardi, “The Revenge of Gratuitousness on Utilitarianism; an Investigation into the Causes and Consequences of a Collective Repression,” Journal of Management Inquiry, (Vol. 14 No. 4, December 2005) p. 309-315. Gagliardi argues that organizations have needs that cannot be legitimately expressed, so they disguise themselves and become blended into organizational culture so that the organization demands a behavior or action without realizing that it is harming itself. Outdated traditions, expensive social events, and military rituals that cost more than they provide are all examples of this behavior.
 Karl Weick, Managing as Designing, ed. Richard J. Boland Jr, Fred Collopy, (Stanford Business Books, 2004), p. 48. Weick discusses how design constructs “focus the activity of design on sensemaking rather than decision making.”
 Bruno Latour, “Visualisation and Cognition: Drawing Things Together,” Knowledge and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Culture and Present (1986), p. 7-11.
 Karl Weick, Managing as Designing, ed. Richard J. Boland Jr, Fred Collopy, (Stanford Business Books, 2004), p. 47. “If managers keep imposing machine metaphors and mechanistic assumptions onto events in an effort to stabilize them, predict them, and control them, then categories, stereotypes, schemas, routines, and formalization seem like useful tools.”
 Karl E. Weick, “Improvisation as a Mindset for Organizational Analysis,” Organizational Science, (Vol. 9, No. 5, September-October 1998) p. 551. Weick discusses improvisation and how organizations are tempted to avoid it by following “the chronic temptation to fall back on well-rehearsed fragments to cope with current problems even though these problems don’t exactly match those present at the time of the earlier rehearsal.”
 E.R. Alexander, “The Planner Prince: Interdependence, Rationalities, and Post-Communicative Practice,” Planning Theory & Practice (Vol. 2, No. 3, 2001) p. 311-324. Alexander argues that planning situations requires a fusion of consensual (Foucauldian) theory and Machiavellian ‘realpolitik’ through interdependence and strategic maneuvering within the organization. See also: John Molineux, Tim Haslett, The Use of Soft Systems Methodology to Enhance Group Creativity (Springer Science and Business Media, 2007) p. 477-496.
 Molineux, Haslett, p. 479. Molineux and Haslett argue that organizations with an overt emphasis on control may impact employee creativity negatively.
 Mats Alvesson, Dan Karreman, “Constructing Mystery: Empirical Matters in Theory Development,” Academy of Management Review (Vol. 32, No. 4, 2007) p. 1265-1281. The authors discuss the “acts of construction” where the framework of the researcher and the social reality of language, concepts, and social contexts are inescapably combined within the process.
 Isaacson. “[Steve Jobs] would stand in front of a whiteboard (he loved whiteboards, because they gave him complete control of a situation and they engendered focus) and ask “What are the 10 things we should be doing next?”
 Silverman, p. 134. “The fact that the stock of knowledge upon which action is based tends to change rather slowly reflects the vested interest that we all have…which daily confirms the non-problematic nature of our definitions of ourselves.” See also: John Nagl, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife; Counterinsurgency Lessons From Malaya and Vietnam (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002) p. 9.
 George Reed, Leadership and Systems Thinking, Defense AT&L: May-June 2006, 10-11.
 Karl E. Weick. “Drop Your Tools: An Allegory for Organizational Studies,” Administrative Science Quarterly (Vol. 41, 1996), p. 306.