In the sixth episode of the first season of Twelve O’Clock High – Pressure Points – Senator Clayton Johnson, who works for the Appropriations Committee, recommends the discontinuation of a long-range attack weapons program because of its outcomes. Senator Johnson’s decision was met with opposition from Brigadier General Frank Savage, who argued that the program should not be discontinued but rather improved to prevent system and manpower losses on their part. Due to problems concerning the military’s long-range weapons, the army’s capacity to attack from afar was stripped. As a result, General Savage decided to use short-range weapons to attack targets Hamburg and Kiel. However, General Savage’s plan turned sour when weather conditions prevented them from going through with the attack.
While waiting for bad weather to pass, the Vicar of Archbury visits General Savage. During their conversation, Eddie Pryor and April Barret’s marriage came up. General Savage talked to Pryor about his relationship with April, and the latter confessed that although he loves the girl deeply, he finds it difficult to commit. After the weather clears, the army goes on their next mission. During their mission, Pryor is trapped inside the plan. General Savage responded immediately by calling Major Roberts and his company to save Pryor. Major Roberts was successful in retrieving Pryor.
Leadership and Decision-Making Strategies
In the episode, the characters illustrate different leadership and decision-making strategies. Senator Johnson as a member of the Appropriations Committee had to make a valuable decision concerning the distribution of finances within the military. Senator Johnson is responsible for evaluating expenses and appropriating fees in projects or programs when necessary. Since the long-range attack weapons program of the military was incurring losses due to the destruction of aircrafts and manpower losses, Senator Johnson saw it necessary to stop the program altogether. Senator Johnson’s view made the decision as a member of the Appropriations Committee. However, the Senator failed to view the problem from a broader perspective.
In addition, when Senator Johnson decided to recommend the discontinuation of the military’s long-range attack weapons program, Johnson failed to involve other parties involved in the decision-making process. Senator Johnson may be a member of the Appropriations Committee, but making the decision required views and judgments from other members concerned including General Savage, who is familiar with the plans, capabilities and needs of the military. Senator Johnson could have consulted other parties. Hence, his leadership may be considered as authoritarian and decision-making strategy following that of the directive style. Senator Johnson wanted to discontinue the program, and he expects the military to relent to his directives.
General Savage opposed Senator Johnson’s directive by arguing that what the program lacks is support. Aircrafts are being destroyed, and the military is losing manpower in the process because of inadequate resources. Hence, General Savage thinks that as a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Johnson could have set funds to improve the long-range attack weapons program in order to prevent losses. Moreover, General Savage believes that the military could benefit from the program if only it receives support and appropriate resources to make operations effective. General Savage applies analytical thinking and conceptualization in making decisions. Instead of nipping the program in the bud to prevent more losses, just as Johnson recommended, General Savage thought about the situation in depth and thought of various opportunities to expand the program, improve efficiency, and increase positive outcomes while preventing losses in the process.
General Savage also analyzed the issue from various angles. Considering Senator Johnson’s recommendations, General Savage explored other possibilities that might bring about more positive outcomes or advantages for the government and the military. Conceptualization is also General Savage’s key strategy, because he thought about drawing long-term outcomes and advantages from the project. Moreover, General Savage came up with a creative solution to make the program a profitable and advantageous investment for the government.
While planning the attack of Hamburg and Kiel, General Savage also displayed good decision-making by taking advantage of available resources. Due to Senator Johnson’s recommendations, it took a while for the army’s long-range attack weapons to deploy, hence posing challenges and barriers to General Savage’s attack plan. General Savage is a resourceful strategist and decided to make do with the weapons they have by attacking at close range. His decision illustrates his resourcefulness as a strategist and creativity as a decision-maker. Apart from being resourceful and creative, General Savage is also a good leader.
When Pryor was trapped in his plan, General Savage took advantage of all his resources to achieve his goal of saving Pryor. General Savage assessed the situation well and utilized available resources by deploying Major Roberts and his team to save Pryor. The situation also illustrates General Savage’s responsiveness as a leader. Overall, his leadership style could also be characterized as participative and delegative, because General Savage delegates tasks among members of the army who are capable of achieving goals of the plan or the mission. The decisions of General Savage and Senator Johnson illustrate the differences between the former and the latter’s leadership and decision-making styles and strategies.