Banish fear a slogan used by quality control guru W. Edwards Deming. He understood that fear froze a workplace, that workers were reluctant to speak up, to share new ideas, or to coordinate well, let alone to improve the quality of their output. I have a nice Ranger School story that describes that condition exactly.
During Florida phase, at Camp Rudder, Eglin A.F. Base located in the pan-handle of Florida, the students are introduced to situations that include heavy equipment such as tanks. The situation for our patrol is that there are tanks and trucks looking for them now. They must use all their training to avoid these obstacles to completing their missions. There is nothing more terrifying for a foot soldier than a tank coming at you through the trees!
Patrols should be planned and executed to arrive at a danger area. Danger areas are any open area like roads, rivers, a cut through trees for power lines, or a meadow, that must be crossed. For roads and power lines the leader wants the patrol to stop a hundred yards, or so, away from the crossing point. The point man should move up perpendicular to the crossing, check for safety, and then bring up the rest of the squad. Scouts cross to check the far side. Once the area appears safe troopers will cross quickly to the other side and then begin movement again on the proper compass heading.
On this particular patrol none of that happened. The point man and compass man and pace man were off and the point man comes on to the road at an angle with the entire patrol strung out behind him. Many of his squad quite near the road.
Enter the tank! The spot the hapless Rangers find themselves in was the bottom of the saddle with a slight rise in the road on either side about a hundred yards in either direction. Just by chance, the enemy tank came over the hill about the time our point man reached the road, the rest of the patrol was strung out behind him in the trees. All Rangers know to take a defensive posture when they stop and they did that perfectly. This is a “cigar” shaped perimeter so leadership can move among the troopers at their feet as they point outward. The tank comes down the hill and rumbles past the troopers hiding in the trees to the rise a hundred yards beyond. All good! Let’s go!
But no one is moving! [Read more…] about Banish Fear and Optimize Your Performance