Posts Tagged learning

The God Squad

In the military the term “God Squad” is sometimes used to represent an elite group or a group of leaders formed into one fighting element. This would be a very experienced force, those capable of nearly any mission; a veteran group with unlimited capabilities.

This weekend the Minnesota Wild Hockey Club took part in one of our outdoor team building exercises; this mission was codenamed Operation: “Urgent Fury” (this was the name of the US Forces operation onto the island of Grenada to rescue college students in 1983.)

The Wild had four assault squads for their exercise; three of the squads were complied of the players, while the fourth squad or “God Squad” was comprised entirely of the coaches and staff.

The coaches and staff are all fit individuals, but the daily physicality of being an athlete in the National Hockey League is not their main assignment. They are there to plan, prepare, coach, train, mentor, provide treatment and lead these men. Believe me, I’ve spent many weeks with them in the past; the staff works extremely hard, as well as shouldering most of the burden of the organization.

The God Squad did a fantastic job! In four simulated combat & technical missions they scored a first place in one event and no lower than third place in the remaining events.

The God Squad shared blood and sweat with the men under their charge and their actions in this operation sent clear messages to the team. First and foremost it shows the men that their leaders are prepared to battle with them side by side in the mud and more importantly they are willing to “embrace the suck” that they are going through. The leadership isn’t just telling their men to go and fight, rather they are doing it together in the “one team – one fight” concept.

Secondly is shows the men that the warrior-instinct and spirit is alive and well in the leadership, and despite that role the leaders are mentally and physically ready to pick up the sword and defend the arena if called upon.

Not only did the Minnesota Wild players receive a great assessment on their performance from our cadre; the God Squad received equally high marks as well! Hooah!

The lesson here is that all leaders, regardless of rank, position or authority, need to occasionally get out there and “embrace the suck.” Feel what the people under your charge feel, serve with them side by side. You will be surprised what you will learn and it provides the leader their own “compass check.”

I salute the Wild staff for getting out there and doing this mission; they set the tone for their organization as Warriors, Winners, Leaders & Survivors!

Have a great week! Keep moving forward and thanks for reading my blog!


JB Spisso
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC



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Get mad, get over it & get on with it

No one likes making mistakes, well at least I’ve never met anyone that does. The bottom line is we cannot live in a zero-defect environment, we would all like to but it’s not practical nor reasonable.

You cannot as a leader in any business have a “zero-defect/zero mistake” policy. Granted, there are limits, and if laws are broken or standards not adhered to that put peoples lives in danger, the axe must fall.

This blog isn’t about your tolerance as a leader, it’s about understanding that we all make mistakes and not to let those mistakes (yours or others) derail you from the mission.

If you’re like me, mistakes can burn at your internal armor, sometimes it actually just pisses me off. A Special Forces (SF) Sergeant Major (SGM) and fellow friend of mine gave me this advice years ago and I’ve put it to use and it works. “Get mad, get over it, and get on with it!”

Simply, it’s ok to get mad over a mistake or issue, get pissed if you have to. However, get over it and get on with the task at hand.

There are some great leaders out there that can do this, some better than others of course. The best don’t let these issues or mistakes stew at them. This doesn’t mean they don’t take care and concern in these issues, rather they understand you have to review what happened but always keep moving forward. These types of leaders can give you the necessary “ass chewing” if it’s warranted, but five minutes later it’s back to the mission.

To this day I hate mistakes, it’s in our nature. I plan contingencies in detail to mitigate mistakes; the fact of the matter is, they still happen from time to time.

My solution: “Get mad, get over it and get on with it!”


Put this in your leader tool bag and give it a try!

Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

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Holding all questions to the end…

“My name is Sergeant Spisso, welcome to your operations order brief. Take out your pens, pencils, notebooks, Ranger Handbooks, and hold all questions to the end.”

This is common before delivering any military style briefing, and the way I was taught as a young Army Ranger to give a brief. I’ve kept this as a foundation throughout my career and we teach this in our communication class to corporate clients (

Holding all questions to the end…it’s not just meant for an organized military briefing, but also in something as simple as a phone call or face to face conversation. It does not always have to be said, holding all questions to the end is an “implied task.”

Simply by listening you have a good chance that your question will get answered somewhere in the briefing. Our minds race when working on a project, we want tot jump in and ask a question which is pertinent to our part of the project. The fact is, the question we want answered will probably get answered by being patient and taking notes (two things we are often not good at!). We all have those team mates that jump in with questions five minutes into a brief; questions that will most likely be answered by listening!

If you are the sender and running a meeting or giving a briefing, don’t assume everyone comes prepared or understands the rules of engagement. How many times do you have people coming to meetings with nothing to write on? They sit there, play on their smart phones, and haphazardly pay attention as if you are subjecting them to shock therapy. Do they really think they can memorize everything that comes out of a meeting?

My sister has a photographic memory and still takes notes! Prepare your meeting or presentation by having a handout with a short summary of your briefing/project and highlight all the key points. People don’t come prepared, so your prepare them! This way when there are questions, you can revert back to your simple handout (DO NOT OVER COMPLICATE THIS DOCUMENT- use the KISS method, Keep it Simple & Stupid).

If you are the receiver in a meeting, come prepared. Ask if there is a read-ahead so you can list any of your potential questions (who, what, where, when & why) and as they are being answered in the briefing you can check them off.

Regardless of the meeting intent, you should leave with a minimum direction & distance. Sender you should make this point clearly; receiver its your responsibility to understand where its going. There will be work to do and there will be more questions to follow (called RFI’s – request for information). But a solid brief with take away handouts will lessen the RFI’s that will be filling your inbox.

“Hi, my name is JB Spisso, this meeting is to cover our marketing objectives for next quarter. Please take a meeting handout provided for you, take copious notes, place your phones/PDA’s on silent and stow them until the end of this briefing; finally hold all questions to the end.”


Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

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