Team RWB West Point Leader Development Training

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Christina Fanitzi, Chris Oxendine, Jonathan Silk

Last week members from Team RWB – West Point conducted a leadership training event for 18 students from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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The event started with a storytelling exercise where students formed small groups of 5 to 6 to share one minute stories of a leader they observed in action. After each person shared their story, they rotated to a new group with new participants and shared the same story again. After four rounds of storytelling, every participant heard every other person’s story, about someone they identified as a leader. After they finished sharing their stories, we instructed students to put their hand on the person’s shoulder whose story most impacted them. . This got a little chaotic as students moved all over; it turned out OK.  The two people with the most hands on their shoulders repeated their stories and the class identified the key leadership characteristics/themes from each story.

The students transitioned to a physical fitness event where they formed groups of three and negotiated a functional fitness course. The students were asked to carry the resulting leadership themes as they completed a number of repetitions at each station. Each team assessed their strengths and weaknesses to determine how they would complete the appropriate number of repetitions in the shortest amount of time. Students offered their best practices and areas of improvement, upon completion.

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After this event, the groups reassembled for another storytelling exercise modeled after the ‘Leadership in Action” exercise. This exercise focused on “great Teams”. Each participant shared a story of a great team they were a part of and what made the team great, to include what the leader of the team contributed good or bad. After four rounds of storytelling, every participant heard every other person’s story of a great team and what made it great. Again, the two people with the most hands on their shoulders repeated their stories and the class identified the key leadership characteristics/themes from each story.

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The last event was another physical fitness event where the students were put into six-person teams and had to navigate an obstacle course. The students were asked to carry the resulting leadership themes they observed of great teams, as they completed a number of repetitions at each station. Each team was assigned a certain number of items to carry, including a 40lb Kettlebell, an Army rucksack with a 25lb plate, and a 25lb steelbell. Once again, the teams assessed their strengths and weaknesses in order to successfully complete the course in the shortest amount of time. Students offered their best practices and areas of improvement, upon completion.

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Overall, this was a great team development event focused on both physical challenges, deep reflection, and instant application of lessons learned!

Leadership Counts!

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