Lesson 5: One team, one fight, when convenient

The overall concept of “One team, one fight,” is a good one, in my opinion.  In theory, if an entire organization were able to consistently operate using that philosophy as the backbone of their functioning, they would be unstoppable.  Sadly, it has been my experience that no organization is able to fully implement it as a strategy, which is why I had to add “When convenient” to the end.  It is sad really.  Every time we ever heard “One team, one fight,” uttered by military leadership, my unit knew that at least one person in our unit was in trouble, and rather than just punishing that individual for their mistake, the entire unit was about to suffer.

It was most common with instances of members getting in trouble for driving while intoxicated or getting caught in some kind of drug-related incident.  There were even occasions when it was just some stupid accident or mistakes like backing a car up into something or falling asleep on duty.  While I and all the others understand the general punishment, that was the only time the phrase “One team, one fight” ever applied.  Anytime anyone in our unit did anything good or worthy of commendation, the “One team, one fight” philosophy was absent.  Suddenly, good recognition does not apply to everyone.  It wasn’t the unit; it was individual greatness.

This tends to find its way into civilian life as well.  How often has your department or team done something extraordinary and it resulted in nothing more than a pat on the back, or only one person getting the prize?  Compare these events to the number of times that same someone, or others, made a mistake, and everyone had to pay for it in some way, shape or form.  It has been my experience that no matter what the organization, this has always ended up being the case.

  I never realized it until I was in the military, but this was a recurring situation that we found ourselves in, especially when you consider the fact that we were stationed in the middle of Europe.  My first run in with “One team, one fight” happened before I was even officially manning a post for the squadron.  A member was caught doing spice and as a result, the entire unit was ordered to appear at the training building on a day off for a briefing, guards were posted at all the doorways, IDs were collected, and more than 500 men and women were required to line up and pee in a cup (in bathrooms under observation from designated members).  It took more than half the day and by the end, there was no respect left for the new leadership.

Not long after that incident, another took place.  An off-duty member of our unit was caught attempting to drive after consuming alcohol by the host nation’s local police.  Without any investigation into the incident, the entire unit was placed on what is called, “6 ring stand-by.”  This is typically an alert status reserved for emergency situations.  Strict rules are put into action and failure to comply results in harsh repercussions.  You are not allowed to consume alcohol, you must be within 30 minutes of the armory, and failure to answer your phone at any time during the “6-ring stand-by” results in some form of disciplinary action.

This level of unity never applied towards any situation involving success.  Not once was the unit rewarded for the successful action or achievements of any other during my entire time on active-duty service.  I have also not yet heard of a single instance where the entire unit was awarded for the actions or achievements of anyone.  That individual is awarded a medal or commendation of some kind (which is deserved in plenty of cases, but not always) which is presented while everyone else in the unit must stand and watch.  This also typically takes place on an off-duty day, forcing everyone to give up personal time to attend.  Truly, “One team, one fight, when convenient.”

One Reply to “Lesson 5: One team, one fight, when convenient”

  1. 💜 Sadly, ALL Too True EveryOne and NOT!!! just Confined to “Organisations”; as with ALL Things it Begins in The Home…call it ‘Punishment or Reward’, ‘Stick and Carrot’, ‘Tearing Down or Uplifting’ We ALL Adopt Our Approach to Discipline in Adulthood while Being Raised and Growing Up then some of These Approaches Become Accepted as ‘Best’ Practice for “Organisations” this excellent post on a ‘Bludgeon and Medals’ Approach being a Perfect Fear Based Example of Negative Discipline; the Basic Premise of which is Put The Fear of The Divine in to EveryOne for Stepping Out of Line with Group Punishment and Create an Aura of Exclusivity with Limited Rewards for a Small Number of Individuals for Group Success…fortunately some leaders Bend ‘The Rules’ and Subtly Reward The Whole Group for Success; while, in the meantime, just Going Through The Motions with Group Punishment to Placate The Top Brass that ‘All is well with discipline’ and dealing privately, effectively, with those individuals who ARE transgressing



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