Last Updated 11 May 2020

Pacetta’s Leadership Principles

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Introduction In the corporate setting, there are a number of leadership principles that could be seen being implemented. Especially in cases of non-performing personnel, managers and leaders of businesses should display the will and the courage to implement changes and do what is necessary for the organization to thrive and overcome the problems it is in. It would be easier to fire the non-performing personnel. In fact, this is the immediate reaction to such kinds of employee or personnel.

Frank Pacetta’s (1995) book “Don’t Fire Them, Fire Them Up” aims to highlight team effort in achieving the targets and goals of the company. He downplays the role of the individual in favor of the team. This way, he eliminates the competition and the in-fighting within the organization and instead creating an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration. The principles that Pacetta outlined can be implemented in both military and non-military situations because of the emphasis on teams and the importance of teamwork and instilling motivation on the organization as a whole.

Establishing a Collaborative and a Winning Atmosphere In Pacetta’s experience, one of the challenges he faced was how to transform a losing organization into a winning one. The spirit of competition was fierce and that there was an atmosphere of fear and punishment. In transforming such situation, Pacetta instituted a system that rewarded the achievers of the organization and praised anyone who showed amazing performance. He did away with the spirit of blaming, fear, and punishment. Furthermore, he stressed the need for change in order for people to grow and succeed.

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A Reward System for Teams The reward system that Pacetta introduced enabled teams to be collectively awarded for their good efforts. This way, more people were involved in the growth process and a spirit of collaboration prevailed in the organization. Another interesting facet of Pacetta’s innovations is the way in which he raised the standards higher. This move challenged people to perform better. Those who did not want to grow and meet the standards left the organization on their own. Those who are willing to work hard transformed the atmosphere of the organization.

Another benefit of encouraging the teams is the strategy of taking away the focus on individuals and putting it on the whole team and on the whole organization. This way, a stronger corporate culture is established, making people feel proud that they are a part of the system. Without this pride and passion for the organization, they won’t be willing to devote time, energy, and resources for the organization. Application of Pacetta’s Leadership Principles Pacetta’s principles may be applied in both military and non-military settings.

In the military setting, military units rarely move on as individuals. Most of the time, they are deployed in teams. As such, in this regard, the welfare of the team is very essential in carrying out the mission entrusted to the team. A strong individual in the team is good but if it came to the implementation of mission on the field, the individual would have to rely on team mates and other people in order to survive. Collaboration is needed in military and not individual adventurism. In non-military settings, Pacetta’s leadership style could also be implemented successfully.

Organizations that already lack dynamism, wracked by problems, competitions, and conflicts could develop team collaboration through the principles outlined by Pacetta. Leadership Principles and Pacetta These leadership principles could be grouped into a few categories. First, the visionary leader is needed to implement changes in an organization plummeting down. Stressing team collaboration may be a bit of a challenge but it is essential in introducing a new dynamics of cooperation and high standards of excellence in the organization.

Such emphasis on teams is important in transforming the organization into a winning one. Another important principle in Pacetta’s book is his emphasis on quality and high standards. By raising the standards in the organization, he is in effect issuing a challenge too everyone to start achieving more than what they have tried before. In a military organization or a corporate one, such challenge is needed if the organization were to retain its edge and its competitive advantage over others. Firing people and letting them go may not be the best managerial practice there is.

As was shown by the experience of Pacetta, emphasizing team efforts, rewarding individuals and teams, ensuring that the targets of the organization are met, and raising the standards of excellence all work towards the ultimate goal of revitalizing an ailing organization and transforming it into a winning one. When a leader exhibits these principles, the organization, whether in a military or non-military setting could start winning instead of moving on a downward spiral.


Pacetta, F. (1995) Don’t Fire Them, Fire Them Up. New York: Simon and Schuster.

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