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A slideshare on Rogers Rules, which are still in effect today and always will be!

Part of Who Dares Wins: Special Operation Strategies for Success and The Green Beret Survival Guide.

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Several combat missiles aimed at the sky. Isolated on a white background. Missile weapons.

Shadow Warriors: Omega Sanction is .99 today only.

I wrote this book while war-gaming various threats that could occur outside of the ones people usually think of such as nuclear. What’s really scary are developments in biological warfare. For a long time biological warfare has been inefficient because it targets indiscriminately. So the threat is as exposed as the target. But science is now allowing biological weapons to be targeted for certain gene patterns, which raises the specter of biological genocide.

Sadly, I believe such a weapon will be deployed, because man has this strange bent: if we can invent it, we can use it. In Omega Sanction my Special Forces hero has to stop the threat; echoing what is happening out there in the real world, where the true heroes operate in the darkness with little thanks and recognition.

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Stay warm and safe!

patch-500x500A huge part of the key to success in a Special Forces mission is the planning. I’ve found applying aspects of this planning process in the civilian world has aided me greatly in building a successful writing career, a seven-figure publishing company, and a consulting and speaking business (which uses Special Forces tactics and techniques in other fields).

Here are five tools we used, which you can also:

  1. Conduct an area study. We spent a considerable amount of time researching the environment and locale in which we would be operating. We had an extensive checklist of items to consider, from the obvious like terrain and enemy forces, to the less obvious, such as flora and fauna, power grids, medical issues, infrastructure, etc. Going into a place blind is a formula for disaster. Have an area study checklist for your area of operations.
  2. We went into ‘isolation’. Once we were handed a mission packet, we were locked up in a secure compound. This was not only for security reasons, but also to allow us to focus with no distractions. While a 24/7 isolation might be extreme in the civilian world, it is possible to conduct a form of isolation. When in the key planning stages, do you limit outside distractors? As a writer, I sometimes rent an apartment or house in a different locale with no television, cable, internet or phone. It allows me to focus completely on the writing.
  3. Make contingency plans. What can go wrong, will go wrong. I was a bit taken aback reading Lone Survivor and the lack of mission planning and contingency planning that was conducted before that operation. One thing we always factored in was that we were going to be found by the indigenous personnel no matter where in the world we went. In isolation we “war-gamed” as many possibilities as we could imagine. And then planned for them. Even before isolation, we had a team Standing Operating Procedure that laid out many of our contingencies for stock situations. (More on SOPs in another post). Remember, it’s too late to plan for Murphy to visit, when he’s amongst you.
  4. Rehearse. Then rehearse some more. And then more. And make sure everyone is cross-trained so that if only one member of the A-Team makes it to the target, then he can achieve the mission. There is no substitute for rehearsal. Think of sport’s teams: they call rehearsal ‘practice.’ And make sure your rehearsals are as realistic as possible. There were times our training was more dangerous than the actual mission. But there is no substitute for rehearsal. And prioritize your rehearsals based on time available. We always started with ‘actions on the objective’, which was the mission and then worked backward from that.
  5. hConduct a briefback. This is critical and a valuable tool that can be used in any environment prior to launching on a mission. After finishing your plan to do something, you should conduct a briefback. A briefback is an effective tool a leader can use to make sure subordinates have developed a plan that will accomplish the goals and whether adequate support has been allocated. The briefback is a way of insuring that everyone understands the mission and all key parties such as operational, logistics, communications, transport, etc. are on the same sheet of music. The briefback also assigns responsibilities. When the FOB (forward operating baser) commander gives the team a go at the end of the briefback he is taking responsibility for the team on this mission. The briefback is attended by the A-Team, the FOB commander, his staff, and any other parties that are connected to the mission. It is limited to those who have a need to know and classified at least at secret level. In essence, though, a briefback can be used in any situation where a group must work together to accomplish a mission to insure that the planning and preparation are well done.

These are just some Special Forces tools that can be modified and used in pretty much any setting and for any mission. For more detail, you can check out Who Dares Wins: Special Operations Strategies for Success, or ask in the comment section.

 

 

FromandkorpsetI’ve had varied experiences, especially in the military. Cadet at West Point, Infantry platoon leader, recon platoon leader, and then Special Forces A-Team leader and other position in Special Operations over the years. I experienced organizations at various levels, from bad to great.

However, the most dangerous place to be is ‘good’.

What good means is that you and/or your organization is doing well enough to get by. To accomplish the ordinary tasks. But in Special Forces our tasks were often extraordinary.  Complacency could have fatal consequences.Voltaire is credited with saying: “Good is enemy of great.”

I’ve found this also to be true in my civilian career as a writer and CEO of Cool Gus. Here are some basic rules I learned in Special Operations and continually apply to avoid settling for good; and you can too:

1. Great is hard work. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. The one common core I saw in Spec Ops and in successful authors was they work damn hard. I watch people buying lottery tickets and think that’s what many wanna-be’s do with their career and their life. They hope luck will strike them; luck comes to those on top of the hill. Who climbed up there on their own.

2. Those who don’t aspire to greatness will try to take you down. A saying I tweet every once in a while which receives a large response is: People too weak to follow their own dream will always find a way to discourage yours.  Don’t let them.  In fact, the good news is you need them. My business partner, Jen, calls them the ‘haters’.  The more successful you get, the more people will come after you– it means you’re doing something right. Smile, get motivated and move on.

3. Failure is opportunity. After every mission we ran, we conducted vigorous after-action reviews and debriefings. We focused on what went right, but also what didn’t. We required honesty in that. And then we worked on making sure that failure did not happen again. As a writer, I’ve had many failures, many rejections, but I view them as one door closing which means there’s another out there for me to open up. One of the “thoughts” for Special Forces Selection and Assessment (a course I helped design) is: Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.

4. Great leadership means being honest and admitting mistakes.  You can’t fix it if you don’t put it on the table. And everyone knows you screwed up. Trying to cover it up makes it worse. But you don’t get to make the same mistake twice.

5. Great leadership means trusting and asking for help. I had a team of experts on my A-Team. Much more knowledgeable not only in their specialties than me, but they also had their life experiences to draw on. It’s amazing how much can be done working together side by side, rather than trying to dictate from behind a desk or behind rank.

And as a bonus, here’s a secret I learned the hard way: Be positive. Believe that you will succeed. See it, go for it. No matter what the odds, most of the battle is inside your own head.  BE POSITIVE!

Time Patrol: Ides of March

15 March 2016

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