A quick planning session before it begins takes place. It doesn’t take long as everyone is both individually and collectively experienced. Still, it’s important to have the team talk beforehand, confirm and re-confirm who’s going to do what...synchronise. It’s also an opportunity to remind each other of pertinent lessons learnt in the past, i.e., what someone screwed up.
3, 2, 1, BEGIN! Everyone immediately starts moving, knows exactly what to do, where to go. But it’s all calm before the storm and soon, as they say, no plan survives the first bullet. The opposing force does something unexpected. They rush head on with a ferocious attack. It could be over as soon as it begun. The radio chatter kicks straight into the highest gear, there is yelling and panic from everyone. Is this it? Didn’t go for that long.
Then, there is one voice over all others. It’s louder but somehow calmer. I’m certain it’s one of the voices which was yelling madly before, but it’s different now somehow. The voice starts providing directions to others and surprisingly others start following. But they don’t just follow, they provide feedback as the communication constantly flows, never stops. The whole thing is very constructive. And the tide has been stopped and signs are there it’s turning.
The opposing forces' plan has now faltered, and their flanks are exposed. One of the team members sees the opportunity and communicates to others. It’s not the same person who took control at the dire moment. A different person seeing the opportunity shows initiative. In response, there are no questions asked, no authority challenged. The initiative is supported instantly. As said, they are all experienced, they have done this before as a team as well. There is trust and courage for that.
The opposing force’s flank crumbles and as it usually happens the front now becomes the new flank to be exploited. And it’s over quickly.
The high from the win is incredible, it is a good feeling. Everyone is loud, smiling, and laughing. They are re-living some of the tense moments, describing what happened, action by action. Interestingly, they don’t just talk about the good moments, they also talk about those close moments of nearly being defeated. There is a lot of analysis going on even in this celebratory mode. It happens naturally. Lessons are being explored and learnt, individually and collectively, for the next time, for an even bigger and more satisfying win.
The above is based on a real life event, actually more than one. I have 11, 9 and 7 year old children and it’s them playing a popular game called Bed Wars, with some artistic licence applied by me. Does it sound little like a training activity we’re all familiar with? Well, it does to me. It has the sequence of brief – conduct – debrief and they get better as a team as well as individually, as they repeat the cycle. It seems to me that not only expensive military simulations can be a useful tool for our training/learning, but also simple video games.