Archive for May 13, 2011
I have been fascinated with the training the elite forces Surviving the Cut special on Discovery. These guys are mentally tough as nails but what i loved in this post was the mention of the wives. Some may say they are …
- What’s hard is good. SEALs go through an intensive 6 month training program called Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S). That training program is designed to test a candidate’s physical and mental limits. Traditionally, by the time of SEAL graduation, the attrition rate is as high as 70%. SEALs quickly learn that the punishment and pain of training hardens their minds and bodies and adapt to embrace the tough environs. Brendan pointed out that start-up executives who go through hard times should learn to relish them, recognizing that the hard times will toughen the team and train them properly for “battle”.
- 80% training, 20% execution. SEALs are incredibly well-trained and when they are not on acutal combat deployments, they are spending the vast majority of their time training for a number of different types of missions. In contrast, at start-ups, executives typically spend 100% of their time executing and 0% of their time training. Brendaen emphasized the importance of training and practice in all areas – employee onboarding, management practices, etc. He commented on the importance of training for unexpected situations. The simultaneous shooting of three Somali pirates at sea as part of a hostage rescue two years ago was an example of the kind of outcome possible when SEALs train under all possible conditions. The CEOs in the room had wide eyes and were certainly thinking hard about their training regimens and scenario planning after that example.
- Every seat counts. Brendan pointed out the price of settling for mediocrity, even in a big organization. Every SEAL needs to know with 100% confidence that the man behind them will be able to save their life and get them out of a bad situation. The CEOs in the room were asked if they could say the same about their management teams and if those management teams, in turn, could say that about their lieutenants. One CEO objected that he had 1000 employees in his company and couldn’t possibly hire all “A’s”. Brendan replied by citing the example of DDay. Eisenhower planned DDay with a small number of subordinates who he turned to and said, select 12 men underneath you who can trust with your life to execute this mission. Each of those men did the same. And so on and so on. That cascading effect resulted in the successful employment and combat engagement of over a 2 million troops throughout Europe. The lesson? Don’t let a large organization be an excuse for mediocrity.
- Everyone is expendable. The SEALs are trained in a nearly identical manner and no one SEAL is indispensible to the unit or the mission. The nature of combat is that anyone can be lost at any time. Entrepreneurial companies have a harder time executing on this philosophy since there are specialists and superstars, but Brendan’s message was to make sure contingency plans were thought through for any set of personnel circumstances.
- You never know the measure of a person until they are tested. As mentioned earlier, the SEALs training program weeds out 70% of participants. Brendaen conveyed that the people he thought would never drop out did while others proved to be more resilient and tougher than imagined. Until your people are really tested (see “what is hard is good”), you can never be sure who will step up and who will falter. One sure sign, based on pattern recognition, is that those that talk tough and are full of bluster are predictably those that are the first to blanche in the face of adversity. Quiet strength and determination in a start-up are invaluable. When you see it in your people, bottle it.
…One final humorous note – Brendaen observed that the spouses of Navy SEALs are as tough as nails themselves and impossible to impress. They still make their spouses take out the garbage, do the dishes and change diapers – no matter how impressive their accomplishments in the field of battle. I suspect many start-up executives have similar, appropriately humbling marital arrangements!
It was one of those days when you look at the workout and say –oh that’s not so bad – but afterwards, all you want to do is lie flat on your back and never get up again. Seems like a reoccurring theme with CrossFit. I often hear from people about how short some of the workouts are — or how ‘simple’ they look. All I can offer to combat that idea is to say Try it. The thing is –if you are pushing to your limits, then those shorter workouts are sometimes even more difficult than the longer ones. I know that from experience — So the point is don’t be fooled by what is up on the board. Do the WOD and then let me know if you think you don’t work as hard with CrossFit as other programs.
Today, one of my favorite people coached the class – Laurie Bikart of Amaiza Fitness a company that specializes in triathlon training and coaching. Laurie is a business owner, trainer, mom, inspiration and friend of mine. She is one of the great people I have met through CrossFit and she continually inspires me. She may even be the one that gets me on a bike again. Don’t get me wrong, I can ride a bike. I am just not comfortable at all on one — I prefer to have a bike with the back pedal brake that my kids have. I have asked her to help me find a bike that fits me, is not like 1000 gazillion dollars, but also not a Schwinn pink bike with a basket either. A good, sturdy hybrid road/trail bike that will help me get comfortable riding along with my kids. Can she do it is the question? Hmm…..
Oh — and today is her Birthday!
Running Drills (CrossFit Endurance)
50 Wall Ball Shots
35 Wall Ball Shots
20 Wall Ball Shots
Wall balls and running = asthmatics rule! These are tough for me simply for the breathing aspect. I have come to the realization that if the WOD includes some sort of heavy cardio aspect, I will have an extra challenge added. It gets frustrating to me because technically I can do it, but breathing is kinda important so I end up stopping to catch up with my breathing. One day I will learn to attack it head on — just you watch!