Life’s lessons are tough!
I can still recall Staff Sergeant Kirk screaming, “STAND STILL you ‘orrible little man…..So what!! Wot you goin’ to do NOW Sir?”.
As I think back now, I can’t help but smile and remember that whilst it was hard and tough ….bloody tough!….., we kept a sense of humour and we had our Sergeants looking after our common interests – although you wouldn’t think it at the time!
I was lucky, I was selected to go to Royal Military College Sandhurst (RMAS) and there I was taught by the Sergeants and qualified senior ranking officers. The word Sergeant comes from the Latin Serviens meaning, “One who serves.” and not just anybody makes it to Sergeant. The Sandhurst motto is, “Serve to Lead” and the British Army has been developing high calibre officers using methods developed over many years and through many iterations and refinements. It is an interesting fact that many of the Sheiks from the Gulf region including the King of Bahrain have passed out from Sandhurst.
The training system, which has been developed over centuries, uses experienced trainers (the Sergeants) coupled with a sprinkling of new ideas (new technology) and challenges young potential officers to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes in order to develop a deeply ingrained understanding of the subject. Let’s face it, two kilometres in the wrong direction on a freezing winters night teaches you to check your map and compass properly and to involve your team! Experiential learning coupled with practical skills and values that are honed by continuous practice and embedded by reinforcement (drills) produces leaders that are recognised as amongst the best in the world today.
These days, I am on a mission to change the way we train our businesses and Government organisations. I propose that we should adopt the Sandhurst techniques developed over the centuries to cultivate our executives of tomorrow. High quality training, in an environment where they can make mistakes and learn from them, supported by high calibre, experienced mentors and coaches who can reinforce core values and lessons that develop better performing managers who really will make a difference.
I am not saying we should shout and bawl at our young managers or subject them to gruelling physical marches and assault courses, although some would benefit I hear you say. But, let’s use that which historically works, let us learn from history and apply the knowledge and experience in order to develop our next generation of leaders and let us move forwards safe in the knowledge that we trained our next generation the best way we could – we nourished them and coached them to be better!
Back in the UK, I coached Rifle and Shotgun – not much use in Bahrain unless the Olympic team needs a shotgun coach? These days I consult and coach around corporate transition management, programme / project management at a senior level, along with organisational change coaching for groups and teams using many of the principles learned over the years. You are welcome to link up with me on LinkedIn or get in touch on the e-mail below.
“Right you ‘orrible lot! Get your kit and march off! … Look sharpish, you’ve spent long enuff readin’ – Go on now, GET BACK TO WORK the lot of you.”.
………JACKSON!!!! ….where do you fink you is going?….. I a’int finshed wiv you yet I fink I might need a spot o’ coachin’ … Er Sir !”.