The army, not surprisingly, has a system in place when it comes to leading troops. It is an eight-step process called Troop Leading Procedure which spans from first receiving the order to refining the finished plan. Each step is vitally important for the success of the mission. During our Ignite Louisville program day, CPT Dave Hermann gave us a quick class in how this process works and then sent our team out into the Dunagan Teamwork Development Course at Fort Knox.
This course is not your summer camp teams course. This thing is intense, having to scoot on planks and move elements across to the other side, all while being told your team can only touch specific areas of the structures or that you are “surrounded by a deep river.” This course was a test, especially for me since I have a fear of heights. As a child I had several occasions where I froze on the high dive and had to be escorted off by a lifeguard. Seriously, even just three or four feet off the ground on a small beam scares the daylight out of me!
Even with my fear of heights, my team (The Great 8) was able to accomplish most of our objectives. We had to take what we had learned in our brief course on troop leadership and put it into action quickly. We didn’t always succeed at first, and many times we fell into the trap of focusing on the entire obstacle instead of just the small segment at hand. But when that happened the officers out on the course with us reminded the team to take a step back and evaluate what we are doing. Sometimes it was as simple as making another survey of our terrain and seeing what might be out there that we are not thinking about.
By navigating the course, I also learned that leadership is not always being the one in charge, but it is also being the one willing to follow and help the team move forward. It is against my nature to not be the person making the decisions. (I blame this on being seven minutes older than my twin sister.) But on the course I was out of my element and I had to listen and follow the instructions of my team to make it through. Without their support and encouragement I would not have been able to make myself scoot across to the finish line of these challenges.
After the day at Fort Knox, I am ready to jump into our team project with the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana! We may have to take a step back and scan our terrain a few times over the course of the next few months, but I have a feeling the Great 8 is up to the leadership challenge!