Teamwork, Communication and LeadershipOctober 7, 2016
3 Lessons From Rucking a Log Across Cleveland
Friday night I lined up on Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, Ohio with twenty-eight strangers to participate in a GoRuck Tough event. I believe that pushing our physical boundaries and leaving our comfort zone strengthens our personal development. To practice being uncomfortable, I participate in Spartan Races and other endurance events. I signed up for a GoRuck to learn applicable leadership skills that participants learn from the military Cadre’s.
The GoRuck event on September 30th was called the Mogadishu Mile Challenge. By participating we were honoring the Army Rangers, Delta Force and SOAR pilots who fought in the Battle of Mogadishu on October 4, 1993. The mission was to be put through a physical challenge that would replicate the stress and workload that the soldiers on the ground endured during the fight (without the enemy and bullets).
Our instructor Cadre Brian “Squared” hailed from the ranks of the Marines elite Force Recon unit. “You are class 2087. Forget about yourself. You will never make it through the night as an individual. You have to work as a team to complete this mission. It will be grueling, but it will be worth it.”
Carde Brian instructed Class 2087 that the combination of teamwork, communication and leadership will see us successfully thought the night. No matter what you are tasked with in life, there can never be enough teamwork, communication or leadership.
TEAMWORK – we were tasked with carrying a ”causality” – represented by a telephone pole – around the City of Cleveland for the majority of the night. The novelty wore off quickly and the pain set in. Only by working as a team were we able to move the heavy load from point A to B over miles and hours. Each of us was cold, wet, sandy and uncomfortable from the weight of the log. Mission and team superseded self and Class 2087 quickly became a well-oiled machine.
COMMUNICATION – No organization will function without proper communication. 20 men cannot carry a telephone pole around a city, crossing streets and tuning corners without proper communication. There was constant talk amongst the team under the log to ensure that nobody fell down or injured themselves by shouldering too much weight. Looking back on what we accomplished accident free is a testament to the constant communication that took place between the tall guys at the front of the log and the short guys who managed the rear.
LEADERSHIP – we always had a Team Leader (TL) and Assistant Team Leader (ATL) rotated out of the ranks from under the telephone pole and assigned to lead. The TL and ATL were tasked with passing along orders from Carder Brian, keeping the team motivated, and moving us toward our destination. At anyone time there were six to eight subs rotating on and off the log for short breaks. The TL and ATL managed the big picture and communication for Class 2087 as we moved from point to point throughout the night. Without leadership there would have been no hope of completing the mission.
Throughout the event, Retired Army Ranger Dale Sizemore, who participated in the Battle of Mogadishu, joined the group to give us his firsthand, historical account of the fight. The telephone pole was a metaphor to give us a frame of reference of what it must have been like to be surrounded by the enemy all night and having to fight your way back to the safety of your base. There was no quitting when the challenge got tough. We had to embrace the suck and keep moving forward. Dale reiterated the maxim that nothing worthwhile in life comes without effort. I was motivated by my teammates and making sure that I shouldered my share of the task to see the log mission through to completion.
Remember that you can never have enough teamwork, communication and leadership in what ever you set out to accomplish. I will apply this to being a better husband, father, friend and business owner. How will you action Cadre Brian’s three key principals for success in your life today?
***This article first appeared on www.johncarenyonline.com on 04 October 2016