Fighting for what’s precious
So many famous battles are important parts of the American story. Rank them however you will, but the Battle of the Alamo will always be near the top. Even though 177 years have now passed since March 6, 1836 (when the Alamo fell), almost every person in the United States knows that famous saying, “Remember the Alamo!”
First, a little history: Texas began as an idea. Mexico had received its independence from Spain. Texas wanted independence from Mexico. “You will remember this battle! Each minute! Each second! Until the day that you die! But that is for tomorrow, gentlemen. For today, Remember The Alamo!”
- Sam Houston, to his troops, at the beginning of the Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836Any way you look at it, the Texans were rebels. The same thing happened in other parts of this country around 1776. Rebels and revolutions get resisted, and battles and wars rage; history is changed. It’s a story as old as humankind.
And your business is no different. There was a time when it didn’t exist. Your business was the rebel – the new kid on the block – out to change the status quo. You met resistance. Some of you are sure your business has almost faced war. More likely, just faced a hard time, but tough, nonetheless.
A guy who really had it tough was Lt. Col. William B. Travis, commander of that rag-tag element of the Texas Army occupying the Alamo. Relatively few soldiers faced the onslaught of thousands of the enemy’s. Fearing the worst, he wrote the following:
To The People of Texas and All Americans In The World -- February 24, 1836
Fellow citizens & compatriots,
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man -- The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken -- I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls -- I shall never surrender or retreat.
Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch -- The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country -- VICTORY OR DEATH.
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt.
Remember that time when business was slow – so slow that you looked around your office and said to one another, “We just have to win this bid, get that job, or close the doors. We can’t go on like this anymore...”
Maybe that didn’t happen to you, but I assure you that it has happened to almost everyone who has been in this industry for a decade or more. It certainly has happened to me! But, we survived. We didn’t have it as badly as Col. Travis did. Under siege for 10 days, he wrote the following, in part, on March 3, to Jesse Grimes on the issue of Texas independence:
Let the convention go on and make a declaration of independence, and we will then understand, and the world will understand, what we are fighting for. If independence is not declared, I shall lay down my arms, and so will the men under my command. But under the flag of independence, we are ready to peril our lives a hundred times a day, and to drive away the monster who is fighting us under a blood-red flag, threatening to murder all prisoners and make Texas a waste desert. I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms, yet I am ready to do it, and if my countrymen do not rally to my relief, I am determined to perish in the defense of this place, and my bones shall reproach my country for her neglect.
The Convention had declared Texas’ independence on March 2; Col. Travis never knew.
And, in the last letter ever written by Travis, this one to David Ayers, that fateful, final morning of March 6:
Take care of my little boy. If the country should be saved, I may make for him a splendid fortune; but if the country be lost and I should perish, he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the son of a man who died for his country.
William Barret Travis died at his post on the cannon platform at the northeast corner of the fortress. He was 26 years old.
Even though you are not under cannon fire at the moment, being assaulted by enemy troops, do you get the connection? Going through tough times is a part of our heritage. Good times and bad times. It’s always been that way, and it always will. As Frank Sinatra once sang, “That’s Life!”
Colonel Travis was writing to people in order to get reinforcements for his position, so he had letters going out to the state’s constitutional convention, army generals and friends. Our situation today is different, but easier. We can just pick up a phone and call the MCAA. They have reinforcements, supplies and ammunition, and they’ll send them right out. They are the reinforcements!
Another saying you’ve heard is “Don’t mess with Texas!” Maybe it’s time people heard “Don’t mess with MCAA.” It could happen!
To your battles in 2013: Expect more, but expect more out of them!
About the Author
Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at FullContactTeam@gmail.com.