The principles to follow were not copied from a Navy regulation manual. They were synthesized from SEAL literature, interviews with SEAL training officers and experience in combat working with Navy SEALS.
In addition, many of the techniques were tested with the training department of a major company. The department had the reputation of being a skilled but rather pedestrian unit.
As its organization entered a more complex, competitive stage of growth, there was a requirement for evolution toward proactive internal consultants who could aid managers in solving difficult people and per¬formance problems.
Credentialed by a mandate from the president, the unit began a metamorphosis which led to a long season of superior performance.
Many of the techniques below are sufficiently controversial to warrant a disclaimer: Inclusion is aimed more at stimulating pragmatic strategies than in recommending a list. Also, while the examples are skewed toward human resources development practitioners, many would apply to any work unit in which high performance was a requirement and exclusivity was a possibility.
Entrance requirements into the unit are extremely difficult, yet fair, job relevant and open to public scrutiny.
Value is partially a function of supply and demand. A diamond is made val¬uable as much due to its rarity as its beauty. If entrance is made difficult (presuming demand), it is likely more people will desire entrance.
Harvard, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Ballet Company are all examples. Prestige is enhanced if entrance requirements are unquestionably fair, directly related to the tasks performed by the unit and are so open to inspection that anyone can have ac¬cess to them. Techniques for implementing this principle might include a comprehensive psychological assessment of all applicants, demonstration of superior writing and speaking skill, one weekend per month for special training, and demonstration of creativity, survival skills and adaptability.
Acceptance into the unit is followed by intensive job-related training with a relatively high attrition rate.
Overcoming extremely difficult obstacles in order to achieve a goal increases the value of that goal. Most people who go through fraternity hazing or final exams can remember how many dropped out along the way. A certain esprit de corps is attained among those who have endured taxing conditions in order to achieve a recognized end.
Completion of intensive training not only demonstrates a certain required competence, but allows the graduate to acquire a kinship with all other graduates. Strategies for implementing this principle in a training unit might include completion of an intensive self-awareness experience, such as an encounter group or group therapy session; a certain grade or score on required academic courses; or some test of social skills, such as dining with the chairman of the board or hosting a formal party.
By : Chip Bell. Training Magazine.