“Experience suggests,” he wrote, “that every order which can be misunderstood will be.” The intention should convey absolute clarity of purpose by focusing on the essentials and leaving out everything else. The task should not be specified in too much detail. Above all, the senior commander was not to tell his subordinate how he was to accomplish his task, as he would if were to issue an order. The first part of the directive was to give the subordinate freedom to act within the boundaries set by the overall intention. The intention was binding; the task was not. A German officer’s prime duty was to reason why.
It recognized that battle quickly becomes chaotic. It emphasized independence of thought and action, stating that “a failure to act or a delay is a more serious fault than making a mistake in the choice of means.” Every unit was to have its own clearly defined area of responsibility, and the freedom of unit commanders extended to a choice of form as well as means, which depended on specific circumstances. The responsibility of every officer was to exploit their given situation to the benefit of the whole.
The guiding principle of action was to be the intent of the higher commander. ”
Excerto de: Bungay, Stephen. “The Art of Action: Leadership that Closes the Gaps between Plans, Actions and Results”.