War Is A Team Sport

Unique Leadership Axiom: the military survives because it is the master of team building. In the United States the military is the most successfully integrated community. All soldiers are the same color: GREEN.

Each of us survives because we learn lessons about danger. The cliché is: the child who touches a hot stove does it only once. Think about the program in that child’s mind. Something hardwired in the child’s brain organizes bad experiences into taboos. That hard wiring creates a predisposition about hot stoves. When that child grows up and goes to chef school, somebody is going to have to teach a different predisposition.

It is not only the hot stoves, that is, physical experiences that create hardwired predispositions. Social experiences also create predispositions; only in this society we call them PREJUDICES. In the recent presidential election both sides exploited prejudice in their propaganda.

In World War II the US military was functionally and organizationally segregated. A famous example was the entirely black U.S. Army Air Corps fighter squadron usually called the Tuskegee Airmen. There was also an infantry unit made up almost entirely of Japanese Americans. It was deployed in Italy. And in the Pacific theater teams of American Indians were used as radio communicators because their language could not be understood by the Japanese.

What can be learned from these examples?

  • All were very effective combat units
  • All Were Teams
  • None Suffered From Internal Racial Prejudice.

This lesson was not learned immediately. In fact when the Department of Defense was ordered to integrate without prejudice to race, creed or color, many in the military accepted these orders grudgingly. But accept them they did. And then an unexpected thing happened. Predisposition to build teams happened. Predisposition, Another Word For Prejudice Took Over. The military built teams that were integrated racially. No, that’s not quite right. “Integrated racially” implies some sort of quota system. That’s not what happened. What happened was throughout the military, people at every level of command decided they would rather be victors in war than defeated segregationists. What a strange situation. One prejudice had overcome another! Internal unit relations had cast off racial prejudice because of the crucial penchant for teambuilding. When you depend on a teammate to save your life, you don’t give a damn what his race is!

If in the recent presidential election your predisposition was not for the man who was elected, then now is the time for you to focus on teambuilding. I’m not talking about all that Cum-Bi-Ya stuff. I’m talking about who is going to save your country. I’m talking about the American Team.

Leader’s Focus: What was it I said at the beginning? The Military Survives Because It Is The Master Of Team building!

My Take on Winning:The makeup of the United States of America is a polyglot. The source of our citizenry is in diversity. If our national self-image becomes the diversity, then internal prejudices of race, creed or color will dominate. We will not be a team. If we are not a team then we will fail as a nation. So my take is to rejoice in the diversity of our origins and to build a united team with a thriving distinct culture! Because, even when we are not in a military war, all of us Americans are in a war for survival. Winning that war demands that America be its own team.

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