Military Agility

Responding to change over following a plan.

Lessons from the Australian Defence Force.

The Agile Manifesto and Military Training have many correlations. For example – Responding to Change over Following a Plan.

When I joined the military many years ago I had to pass the Australian Army’s boot camp in Kapooka. It was here where my foundational agile lessons began. One such lesson took place each evening before bed when we were told what the ‘dress of the day’ was for the following morning. This allowed us time to plan and prepare our uniforms and equipment for the next day’s activities.

At 6am Reveille would play and we would jump out of bed, hurriedly shower, shave, dress for the day and line up outside our barracks. Our instructors would come to inspect to ensure we were prepared for whatever activity they had planned for us…but it seemed to always be different from the one planned the night before. We would all groan and run back to our rooms to ‘change’ and line back up again before heading out for the day’s lessons. Now, this would happen each day, our Section Commanders would bark out that we were incorrectly dressed and send us back to our rooms. It wasn’t long before we learnt that no matter what we had prepared for, it would be different on the day and we needed to be able to shift or be agile at a moment’s notice.

Over the days, it got to the point that no matter what was thrown at us we were always ready for the change as we began to anticipate and expect it…change become the norm. At the time, this ‘lesson’ was annoying, irritating, frustrating and exasperating but reflecting back on it now it taught me resilience, persistence, and agility. We learnt that the inevitable (going to happen) was in fact invariable (currently happening) and we needed to be strong and grow to accept and embrace the change.

So, as you go about your day, think about the invariable – change is always occurring, so there is no sense in expending your energy fighting it, instead use your energy towards mastering it and embrace it.

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