We were outgunned, outnumbered and surrounded.
We were attacking Australia.
We were winning.
'I need to lodge small groups of special forces soldiers at various points on the Australian coast,' the Kamarian Commander of 311 Raider Battalion briefed me. 'I want to hide them beneath the decks of fishing vessels that will drop them off without the vessels being intercepted by the Australians. Can I fly the Mussorian flag on them under International Law?'
'Yes Sir. It's called a 'Ruse of War. It's legitimate. Your only obligation is to lower the flag and raise our Kamarian flag if we are discovered and need to defend ourselves. Your biggest risk of interception is by fisheries inspection officers so don't display any fishing gear.' It was much more fun being legal adviser to the bad guys on military exercises.
Following the sabotage and destruction of military and civilian infrastructure across the north of Australia by unknown foreign military elements, the Australian government responded. It suspended the right of innocent passage. No vessel, including ours operating under false flags, could transit Australian terrotorial waters. The Commander asked me for my advice.
'Declare victory, Sir,' I said.
$13 Billion of trade that came through Australia's northern waters annually was halted.
Australia's response to the threat of three civilian fishing vessels and a handful of commandos had self-inflicted billions of dollars of damage to its economy. Much more than the weapons of the armed forces of the mythical tiny island state of Kamaria could ever have done.
The first job of a Leader is to Create the Space.
Boundaries should be liberating catalysts for creativity.
Be generous and discerning in the size of space you create for people - in agreements, rules, policies, practice.
Once you limit the horizon, you have to patrol it. You have to enforce it. You have to mend it. You have to justify it.
You will add to the $250 Billion Australia already spends each year on compliance.
You will constrain and restrict innovation and cause other unforeseen damage.
You can be sure that each person down the hierarchy will define the operating space even smaller for their people.
If someone exploits your generous boundaries - breaks a rule, abuses your trust - be careful not to respond by drawing the lines in tighter. You'll catch more than the stray in your net.
If they breach the boundary again - don't shoot.
Instead, invite them to leave your space and create their own.
Invite them to be a Leader.