Is string pulling ever acceptable?

Discussion in 'Officers' started by smallbrownprivates, Feb 9, 2009.

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  1. When individuals are being selected for company command, should they be selected purely on the points/scores put before the board or should senior officers' influence/comments to board members be equally important?

    or another way: at company command level, are one's political/influential connections as valid as one's operational capability?

    (note: this is not me, I've been out on civvy strasse for a while and already know the civi div answer!)

    thoughts and opinions much appreciated
  2. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

    its not what you know, its who you know. Always has been always will be.
  3. Or what you know about who you know...
  4. Or what you think you know about what they know about what they...
    No, sorry, it's gone.
  5. Yes, I agree - and I suspect that the occasional case aside, the process is pretty much as fair as it can be made. I also believe that the people involved make the best and most honest decision that they can make, with the information that they've got.

    There are cases where knowledge of the individual concerned may help - and it's not always about how wonderful they are. Let's face it, one of the great strengths of the Regimental system is that everyone knows you. It's also one of the great disadvantages - because it's very hard to change people's perceptions of someone.

    I've sat and observed a selection panel at work. One of the three appearing before the panel had a reputation as being self-serving in the extreme (even light-fingered) - never proven, well-known to those who had worked with him. None of the selectors were aware of this, the observers were.

    The selection was scrupulously fair; based on points and interview performance. Said bloke came second in order of preference. The interesting thing was watching how the board then came to the decision that they should re-advertise the post if the first choice should not accept.

    Another example was where someone had applied for a TA job, and the OC was able to "suggest that WO2 <x> might not be best suited for an SPSI post". The applicant may have been a competent operational soldier, but in our experience from his previous tour with the TA, he managed to combine being a jack b*stard with stabbing backs, looking out for number one, definitely not looking out for the Jocks (except for a couple of drinking buddies), and blaming everyone else for his failings (other PSIs included).

    So; if we made everything sterile, sanitised, and driven by the paperwork, then we'd lose that occasional opportunity to ensure that what goes around, comes around.
  6. What's wrong with a little nepotism, masonry or brown lip service? After all it's worked in politics & the finance industry for eons.
  7. We built one of the world's great empires on nepotism and patronage.

    I'm not saying that there is definite cause-and-effect at work, but our power and influence have certainly waned as our propensity to 'fairness' has grown - while many other nations have been more reluctant to lose their holds on pragmatism.

    End of pretentious, contentious observation, start of answer to question...

    Yes, string-pulling is not merely acceptable but morally necessary. If one knows that a failure to use influence will enable the appointment of a lesser candidate, one has an ethical obligation to pull strings.

    Never forget that Hitler was democratically elected, while Churchill had not been the choice of the people.
  8. The case I've heard about must be one of the occasionals then: 2 individuals who scored lower than this individual have received company commands. Both have been alluded to as professional staff officers requiring an operational command appointment for progression.
    The passed over individual (who has been rated within his peers as one of the more capable operational experienced majors) will be mostly driving a desk for a while - not the best retention.

    Hope the 2 selected do pull it out the bag with minimum casualties, otherwise "what goes around, comes around" with a downside that someone else pays for in a hard way
  9. I suppose that if 'string pulling' is acceptable, it is no longer 'string pulling'?
  10. String pulling is easier than string pushing.
  11. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator


    Did the 2 "staff officers" grade above the quality line? If yes, and that therefore presumes that they are trained, or will be trained before sub unit command (CATAC), then there is nothing to say that the jobs must be filled in order of grading.

    3 officers, all graded suitable to command. 3 jobs to fill. 2 would benefit from going back to RD and away from desks for career management purposes, so they get those jobs to give them the best run at the career plan.

    The one with the recent operational experience gets to drive a desk for a while. He could remain a G3 warrior for ever, but would he then be complaining that he has been "career fouled" by not getting the relevant staff experience at the appropriate time in his career? His high grading would certainly start to drop if he gained the appearance of being a one trick pony, without broader experience.
  12. Does it not depend on length? Just how long IS a piece of string?
  13. Length is irrelevant, but both temperature and humidity matter. A piece of string dampened and then frozen can be pushed.

    Determining the length of any given piece of string is straightforward: measure from the middle to one end, then double.

  14. with the proliferation of females in the forces

    its now to be read as

    its not what you know but rather who you blow
  15. Legs. The length of a piece of string has always been equal distances from the centre. Thought everyone knew that.