Thursday, November 10, 2005

It's All About Taking Advantage of Every Resource - Especially Time

First things first: Happy Birthday (230th), USMC! I don't have a lot of time to round this out, but the Valour-IT Project has gone over the goal for Team Army and Navy. The Marines still have quite a hike to make it, which, surprises me, and the Air Force is stll pulling in the $$$, but they are "covering our six." Thanks, Team AF, for guarding our tails as we take this challenge on. It's still looking like a seesaw battle for number 1, Army and Navy fighting it out even now... In 1980, as a young LT, I was put in charge of the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) for a 278 person department at a major training command. The CNO at the time, I think was ADM Heyward, put a renewed emphasis on the program. My ideas on why will have to wit for another day, but here's what I learned, and how it applies to this project to collect funds. The test was sit ups, push or pull ups, and either a 1.5 mi run or 500 yd swim. Grading was broken down not only by time/count, but also subdivided by decades of age groups. At the time, if you "exceeded 40," you didn't have to take it. Many of the "Old Men" opted out. Here's what has always stuck out about the thing I learned. I'd have 24-27 YO guys come up and ask: "How many sit ups do I have to do?" I'd ask their age, then consult the CNO Instruction on my clipboard and say something like "31." This would be the number to achieve the minimum grade of "Satisfactory." (Categories were Unsat, Sat, Excellent, Outstanding) When it came time to get a partner and see how many push ups they could do in the 2 minutes alloted, I'd see this guy (and many like him in excellent physcial shape), knock put the 31 "required" push ups in about 22 seconds, then the'd stand up and walk off to take a break. A few would come and ask "what's the maximum I have to do?" I'd see these people at 1:55 staining to do "one more!" as their partner holding their feet would say to encougare the perrson with the screwed up face, eyes clamped closed, trying to press their elbows to their knees (that's how we did it in the "Old Navy," no "crunches" for us), while rivers of sweat in the Viginia summer ran down their faces. If they had passed the number for max points, it didn't matter, it was about using every second alloted to do as much as they were able. The same thing happened with the push ups, and the run times. Fine, strapping young men, most doing the minimum ("if the minimum wasn't good enough, they wouldn't make it the minimum" they would say), and a few doing everything they could do. Over the subsequent years, as the PRT was done every 6 months, I saw this behavior over and over. In the work place, I saw the same thing. Guess what? It turned out that the people wanting to know the lowest performance they could turn in to get by, were more than likely to take that into their professional performance off the PT field. The ones who suffered the sore muscles from the straining for excellence for all that was in them that day, were more than likely the sailors and officers you could count on, no matter what it was going to take to get the job/mission/project done. I did note exceptions, but it was close to a 1:1 correletion in performance in the work place and for physical readiness. It's an overall life philosophy, easiest noticed, in my observation, during the semi-annual PRT. To bring this home today, Teams Navy and Army have met the self acknowledged "minimums" for the Valour-IT Project. Do we have it in us to use the time between now and 23:59 11/11/2005 to go for something that says what our life philosophy is? I have emailed local and national radio talk show hosts and everyone on my personal mailing list, with a request to pass the email along. I have told others of the project as an "oh, by the way" comment when I could slip it in. And today, as I work, I'll be thinking of who else to contact and email when work is done, encouraging them to consider this project. Have you done it all for the wounded? Will you sweat and strain to the finish line? I think I still haven't done enough....get creative, tell the story, help those who helped us. I'll see you in the virtual victory circle! Make it happen, people! Thanks to Mudville Gazette and The Political Teen for the Open Posts!

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