Military Elite in Disequilibrium on the Gold Coast



Sabre has recently been given the privilege of working with an elite group of high-level Australian and US military operators at their strategic operational and team development retreat. Names etc. withheld for obvious security reasons in this day and age.

We deployed a combination of our Team and Leadership DNA approaches, with the cross-functional team working challenge Picture Perfect.

The Team DNA component tailored information gleaned from individual and team Belbin profiles and reports to dovetail into key themes from this strategic team development meeting.

The Belbin Model, and its profiles and reports, provides solid and evidence-based insight into individual and collective behavioural operating styles. When carefully matched to real-world scenarios, these insights can help to achieve enhanced individual, team and operational performance.

For these leaders in their fields, improving performance in ever-demanding situations is a mission-critical skill, for which Belbin has now become another enabler and tool in their toolbox.

Sabre uses only our most senior and experienced facilitators on such programmes, who can establish credibility and also hold their own with such elite teams.

As for the activity, well it may seem a little odd to give a painting activity to all male group of military combat veterans, but we will often deliberately pitch exercises that sit well outside of comfort zone and experience base.

As a consequence of doing this individuals and functional teams project their natural behaviours with greater clarity, and see established methods of decision-making apply equally well to unfamiliar scenarios.

Three of many factors we often take into account for quality programme design are:

Creating Disequilibrium

The unfamiliarity of the challenges and problems places people in a state of disequilibrium or disorder. They cannot easily stand behind their normal status, roles and defences. Prior experience isn't as relevant in this environment. This can allow emphasis to be placed upon both task and process related themes as the group has to organise itself around the challenge.

Projective technique

In organising the instability or disequilibrium, the group projects their problem-solving skills, project management ability, and leadership style onto the experience. The experience provides a unique opportunity to catch participants doing what they typically do, in spite of knowing otherwise. The learning arising from this is profound and revealing. The window or mirror into their process provides unlimited information or data to shape their team based learning.

Decreased time cycle

The space between the project or challenge and the outcomes are compressed, so the consequences of organisational decisions can be easily examined and improved. Typically in an organisation , there is more of a time lag and more variables to consider, so any review or learning risks being diluted or delayed.

To watch these guys approach what is a quite complex and sophisticated task was impressive indeed.

By drawing upon ingrained M.D.M.P (Military Decision-Making Process) and their communication skills, the team quickly oriented to the challenge and developed impressive passages of communication and information between sub teams.

They also demonstrated great interpersonal skills as certain pitfalls within the challenge construct arose, quickly getting themselves out of such inbuilt pitfalls and traps.

This lead to a very impressive end result for an image themed on the selected destination for their retreat.

Feedback from the most senior organiser of this programme about the impact of our work with this elite team, given with customary military brevity “Highly effective”.

Want to learn from military approaches?

The business world can certainly learn a lot from the military about teamwork, leadership and decision-making in complex environments. Sabre is also well equipped to do this, with many high quality approaches delivered our own ex-military team members. Check out our military team building approaches here.