Frank On Military Training
Military Training for Corporate Crises
Military and civil organizations that provide emergency services wherein human lives are at stake utilize a powerful combination of selection, training, motivation, and empowerment to consistently produce levels of team innovation and achievement that are quantum levels superior to conventional methods. This long list includes Military Special Forces, police SWAT teams, Medical Emergency Response units, Coast Guard, and many others.
Experiential learning for high-impact teams is the dynamic catalyst that transforms carefully selected volunteers into breakthrough innovators and super-achievers. Experiential learning develops an integrated combination of kinesthetic skills and psychological commitment.
The core premise of kinesthetic learning for extreme performance in high-stress and high-risk situations is: ‘student/teams learn best how to perform vital tasks by actually doing those tasks in real-world circumstances with real consequences.’ Therefore:
- the instructor/facilitator combines classroom instruction in advanced tools and techniques with hands-on application of those skills to real objectives.
The core premise of the psychological aspect of extreme performance in high-stress and high-risk situations is: ‘the want-to is just as important as the how-to.’ Therefore, student/ teams experience three interdependent elements as inextricable components of empirical training:
- the instructor/facilitator empowers the student/team to make decisions and take action in pursuit of real objectives with real consequences at numerous points throughout the training
- student/teams achieve escalating successes and learn from mistakes on real tasks in an environment where accomplishments and shortfalls are both treated as essential steps in high-performance learning
- each student/team develops a camaraderie of like minds committed to the same vital mission
Corporate Special Forces (CSF) training embodies a business adaptation of all four components of experiential learning.
CSF student/teams learn rapid-response techniques, breakthrough innovation procedures, and crisis-intervention skills, not just by lecture, but by applying the skills they are learning to actual tasks in pursuit of their mission with real consequences. These are integral components of the training. Not because lives are at stake, as in the military, but because it is by far the most efficient method for teaching vital skills that require hands-on application to critical corporate objectives and because experiential learning triggers unprecedented levels of creativity, energy, ownership, self-esteem, and motivation within the team. This method of learning tactical skills experientially equips the students with advanced capabilities and attitudes that cannot be achieved in the academic classroom alone.
The CSF instructor/facilitator empowers the student/team to apply the tools and methods they are learning, first to case studies, then to resolving real obstacles and achieving real objectives within their mission, with real consequences.
The student/team will analyze each real-world situation, plan a solution, and implement it. The students will make their own decisions, take initiative, and risk consequences. Except for a few potentially catastrophic situations, they will succeed or fail essentially by their own efforts, with minimal intervention by the instructor/facilitator.
At-risk empowerment changes the learning environment spectacularly for the students. Attitudes and ownership escalate dramatically. Hands-on skills transition from superficial to powerful. Attentiveness and intensity jump off the charts. Empowered application combines the kinesthetic, emotional, psychological, and motivational aspects of experiential learning.
Empowerment also enhances the students’ self-perceptions, their camaraderie with the other team members, and their commitment to achieving the team mission. Empowerment radically changes the chemistry of the learning environment at an intense, visceral level.
The instructor/facilitator structures the students’ experiential application of each new skill in such a way that each one will conclude with a meaningful success experience. The first success is then followed by more challenging and more difficult applications, with each application resulting in increasingly more meaningful successes. The instructor/facilitator will posture learning from shortfalls as being just as valuable as learning from successes, thereby making every encounter a success in terms of learning, growth, and self-confidence.
Self-confidence is pivotal to taking initiative and taking risks. Escalating successes, achieved by the team’s own efforts, generates exceptional self-confidence. By the end of training, the team’s emotional self-confidence and their willingness to take initiative will reach palpable heights and produce results that otherwise would have been beyond their grasp.
Similar to their military counterparts, CSF teams develop an exceptional level of camaraderie and mutual respect within the team. Camaraderie in pursuit of meaningful achievement enhances positive self-esteem individually and collectively.
The universal hunger among high achievers for self-esteem enhancement, once activated by empowerment in pursuit of a corporate objective, and energized by camaraderie on a synergistic team of high achievers, becomes a perpetual motivator to excel. It drives each CSF team to pursue the team mission with ever-increasing commitment, ingenuity, and tenacity.
Camaraderie also spawns a special kind of group courage. The team will tackle challenging tasks with gusto, tasks they wouldn’t even consider undertaking as a conventional team.
This synergy of academic and experiential learning combined with empowerment and escalating successes transforms head knowledge into a composite of visceral learning, hands-on skill, and powerful self-confidence. It enhances the students’ feelings of camaraderie with their teammates and collaborative commitment to a common goal. It makes the team’s corporate mission personal and meaningful. It transitions a work-for-wages mentality into an intense commitment to breakthrough innovation and super-achievement that is many levels above the norm.
The cost and difficulty of adapting the highly successful military model of experiential training to the business environment is infinitesimally small. The benefits in innovation, performance, and competitive superiority can be exponential.