Subject-Matter Experts are all around you (Speaking Topics for Corporate Events):
I watched Sgt M putting 40mm grenade rounds through a second-floor window from 120 meters away. I was in awe...
On our first patrol in Iraq, I noticed Sergeant M(andeville) chose an M203 rifle/grenade launcher as his weapon of choice.
2 things to note: Sergeant M was the team leader in charge of his 5-man team, and team leaders don’t normally carry the M203.
Now the M203 looks exactly like it sounds: it’s a 9lb M16 rifle, with a 3lb grenade launcher mounted to the underside of the barrel. Besides using it as a normal M16, it also launches 40mm (twinkie-sized) grenades out to 150 meters. It’s one of the most ingenious & versatile weapons in the US inventory, straight out of a video game.
Caveats: becoming accurate enough to plunk a projectile 50-150 meters on-target requires serious skill; Trying to run while carrying 48 rounds at .5lb per grenade in the custom vest (extra 24lbs) ain’t no joke, especially after you get the enemy’s full attention as the guy lobbing in explosive grenades on their heads.
a football field away downrange the ½lb twinkie projectile thunked thru the window and then exploded inside! Holy sh$% he was good...
The 82nd had previously set up a hasty city-training area (MOUT site for you Ranger junkies) and I watched Sgt M putting 40mm grenade rounds through a second-floor window from 120 meters away - as I watched just off to his right so I could see him set the sight to 150 meters plus adjust the angle of the barrel … a football field away downrange the ½lb twinkie projectile thunked thru the window and then exploded inside! Holy sh$% he was good! I remember he shrugged it off as ‘what he was supposed to do’… I was in awe... he worked for me, yet I wanted to be like him…
An additional M203 on any patrol could be a big plus, so I resolved to make myself proficient and carry it as my weapon of choice too. Just like Sgt M. I liked it. It felt good, and the parabolic aiming made sense to me.
I walked over to request an M203 at the armory before the next patrol, and the weapons sergeant behind the cage said, “Sir, Lieutenants don’t use those..”
My response, “well I hope this one can...”
Checking gear for that night’s patrol, I donned my vest before the last sunlight of the day and realized, “experts are all around me that want to help improve my game”.
...Smart leaders are always trying to improve their game – by watching & learning.
Years later in business the same lessons apply.
Younger leaders pay close attention to their superiors to assimilate best practices...Good.
Seasoned leaders realize that there’s an additional treasure of experiences to be gained from the subject matter experts who work for them…Even better.
..stay tuned for Bringing Teams Together - coming up soon!
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