Clean the toilet to win the war

The U.S. military wins wars because they clean toilets, shine their boots, and make their beds.

Historically, disease is the number one cause of death for militaries. Wars have been lost because little things like hygiene were taken for granted.

In basic training, soldiers are taught to clean toilets before they shoot a weapon. The principle of assigning value to preventative maintenance (the things most take for granted, like hygiene and cleanliness) is the reason for victory.

And even if trainees are highly skilled civilian marksmen, they aren’t allowed to jump ahead (of the head) and start shooting a rifle. First, they have to assign value to cleanliness and hygiene. But what happens in life and business? The talented skip assigning value and start fighting, pushing today’s work off so that tomorrow’s battle is sabotaged.

One way to approach this is to be really good at reacting in the moment. Maybe our soldiers can get lucky even though they’re fighting with a disease?

The better approach is to maintain value on what really matters, not shooting the gun, but cleaning the toilet. Cleaning the toilet means disease won’t spread. The principle of keeping things clean means the soldiers won’t be sick, if the soldiers aren’t sick they can do their job effectively, if they can do their job effectively they’ll win the war.