Be Prepared

In Active Learning, Aha!, Confidence Course Facilitator, CPR and First Aid, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone on September 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Long before Doomsday Preppers and the Disney’s movie The Lion King with its sinister lyrics to the song Be Prepared, there was Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship by Lord Baden-Powell. More recent television and movies based on the theme of preparedness include the 20 or so shows listed here:

What is it about our fascination with survival? Why do so many people worry about the so-called “End of Days” or why has the Center for Disease Control prepared with such vigor for a Zombie Apocalypse? The answer to these last two questions continues to evade me.

That said …

With a quick walk about my cabin, I found evidence for my own preparedness. Two examples …


Yep, I must admit that I've found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Yep, I must admit that I’ve found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Recently I was called on to perform a “pick off” at the place where I work as a senior challenge course facilitator. Now before anyone gets upset or over reacts, the climber was unharmed and in fact wanted to immediately try again to climb our Alpine Tower. There were no cuts, no bruises, no harm, no foul — and this climber successfully re-climbed our tower to the first platform!

One more thing … I’m not posting this article today in pursuit of any congratulatory praise. My role in this incident was simply a part of my job — like a fireman who might climb a ladder to rescue a kitten from a tree. But we learn and re-learn from such drills. I know that I’m going back to work soon to inventory the gear that’s in that rescue bag.

Hmmm ... What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful  "pick off?"

Hmmm … What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful “pick off?”

Okay … I’ve delayed enough. Here’s the real reason for this post …

When you think of the motto: “Be Prepared,” what comes to mind? Are you someone who thinks through the various scenarios of your day mentally rehearsing your options and thinking about how you’d like to respond to the day’s challenges? When was the last time you checked the glovebox of your car for a first aid kit? When was the last time you inspected the fire extinguisher that’s under your kitchen sink for that stovetop fire should those fried chicken wings get a little too crispy on game day? And if someone were to choke on one of those wings — due to their food going down the wrong pipe after their favorite team scores a touchdown — do you know how to dislodge it? When was the last time you enrolled in a Red Cross First Aid course?

Today I invite you to take one small step toward preventing a future accident or incident. Restock your first aid kit that’s in the trunk of your car. Check the batteries that power your smoke and/or CO2 detectors in your house and home. Prepare a list of supplies that you’ll purchase before the start of autumn in preparation for winter. (Note: Buy now before the merchants artificially raise their prices for the pre-winter rush.)

Be prepared.

The Wall Banger … Where’s Harvey?!

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on August 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm
And the OC says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to 'The Wall Banger'." To which one participant replies, "Where's Harvey?"

And the OC says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to ‘The Wall Banger’.” To which one participant replies, “Where’s Harvey?”

Recently I had the honor and privilege of serving as the “officer-in-charge” at the Thayer Leader Development Group’s “Leader Reaction Course.” While at West Point, two groups of corporate executives were put through their paces in team-building and executive decision-making.

So what makes experiential learning so effective? There are many reasons …

a) Leadership is best picked up in an experiential, hands-on setting. You can read about the HOW TOs and you can study how others may act in situations of high stress when faced by a challenge. But there’s nothing like being faced with a challenge — in the moment — with working with others and deciding what makes for the group’s next steps.

b) Reality trumps virtual reality 99 times out of 100. How do you gain experience? You make mistakes and learn from them. “Plan-Prepare-Execute-Learn” is the cycle that can only be appreciated when you’re doing and being versus just thinking about it.

c) When navigating through a challenge course, ropes course, or reaction course — you see the results of your thinking and decisions directly and in real time. Positive and negative results are revealed within minutes if not seconds of your decision. If you’re luck to have a trained “observer-controller” or OC / coach working with you during this experience, then they can help you see and understand the good, the bad, and the ugly consequences of your actions.

As for items d) … through z), these may be the topics for future posts here or on Linked In.


John Lesko is a certified professional facilitator and leadership coach. He’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks and an adjunct faculty member of the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point. He also hangs with the staff at The EDGE at Mason. To learn more, comment here or send an e-mail to <John@JohnLesko.Biz>.

Back by popular demand -or- you must do it until you get it right?

In Facilitating Genius on June 22, 2016 at 8:29 pm
Cover Slide

Cover Slide

Here’s a copy of my slides from Monday’s “Tell Me About Your Genius” workshop hosted by 40PlusDC.