Unique Leadership Axiom: We all get lost sometimes – with this tool you survive to win!
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night in Bangkok Thailand. My first week in that lovely city. I was working at a think tank for the US Military Advisory Group.
I had gone to a bar with Pete, a U.S. Army captain. After a while an Aussie Army colonel and Adul ,the Thai Air Force captain who ran our program, joined us.
Later we all got hungry and the Colonel said he would really like to eat European-style food. Adul said go the Two Vikings Restaurant.. Neither I nor Pete, knew this restaurant so we got in our car to follow the Colonel and Adul.
After driving for about five minutes, we had lost them. Pete said “I guess we better go back to the bar”. “Why?” “So we can get to the restaurant”. Not wanting to seem dumb I shut up. Back at the bar, there was the Colonel and Adul in his car and this time we followed successfully to the Two Vikings restaurant.
After we were served, they had a good laugh at my expense. The Colonel went on to explain to me that we had just followed a military survival rule.
When a squad moves through rough terrain, it is common to stop every hour and count noses. In rough terrain, it is easy for a soldier to get separated from the squad. If, at one of these stops, someone is missing the squad goes back to the last place where they were all together. It’s expected that the lost soldier will have checked his watch, and done the same.
The net result is that when a soldier is lost from his squad, the loss is temporary and an hour later he and his squad will be reunited because leadership taught a survival rule that says: Stop and count noses. If a nose is missing, you know where to find it!
This tool can be used anywhere.
I used it to help a College girl who had gotten lost in her studies. She had been getting straight A’s in calculus and suddenly was getting D’s.
To follow the Rule of “When Last We Were Together” she went back in her studies to the point where she and her teacher were last together (To the point at which she was getting A’s). For her, getting together with the squad was going to the teacher and saying “Look, I know calculus up to this point where I got lost. How do we get back together?” This young lady was reunited with her A’s.
Leader’s Focus: A leader counts noses to be sure that the whole team is together. If someone is not with him, he may take the team back to the last place they were all together. Other times he may sort out the situation directly with the individual who was no longer moving with the team.
This rule is not found in a field manual. It is learned from leadership.
Note: much later I came to understand that survival, like winning, is a product of leadership.
My Take on Winning: The boss/manager must be a leader. The mindset of the boss determines the results. A leader focuses on both team success and the individual success of team members.