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Aviv Kochavi bids farewell to the IDF

הרמטכ"ל אביב כוכבי
צילום: דובר צה''ל

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Aviv Kochavi, Chief of Staff of the IDF, is retiring after 40 years of military service. This is an appropriate moment to quote an excerpt from his new book, "Achareicha" or "Follow You," a title that evokes "Follow Me," the unofficial motto of the IDF. The book was published yesterday and contains insights into effective leadership from which all of us, not only military commanders, can learn.
"Why did Cain kill Abel?" Kochavi asks. "Because his sacrifice was not accepted by God. In other words, because he did receive recognition. Recognition is the 'mental oxygen' and prime motivator of human beings.
An experiment was once conducted in a factory of the Western Electric Company near Chicago, Illinois. Researchers periodically changed the conditions of the workers -- increasing or decreasing the amount of light and changing the temperature in the factory during certain hours, altering break times and their duration, and providing food during breaks, among other innovations. The productivity of the workers increased with nearly every change in working conditions, which led to a significant and far-reaching conclusion: It was the special attention given to the workers by the experimental team and factory management that led to an increase in productivity.
Every human being has a basic need for recognition. Recognition nourishes self-confidence. People stand tall and shine when they are recognized and those who are not feel small and fade away.
As a battalion commander, I adopted the practice of sending handwritten letters of appreciation. More than once I saw them hanging on the wall of a tank maintenance facility or office. As Chief of Staff, I adopted the additional practice of having a conversation with every fighting force that crossed the border to engage in military action upon their return.
Recognition of others means taking the time to listen, to pay attention, to respond to requests, to encourage feedback, to reassure and show interest. Recognition can be expressed in speech, in writing, or may come down to a single glance."
Thank you Lieutenant General Kochavi for this insight and for the last 40 years.


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