5 Reasons why you need to master the “fall out 1 drill”

Matt Eversmann faced one of the most significant leadership challenges in one of the most dangerous circumstances possible. I was privileged to catch up with my old friend in my recent Unbeatable podcast interview. Matt and I were able to have some conversations that we hadn’t had in 30 years.

There’s a moment in the fight in Somalia that I don’t think the book or movie gives Matt the credit he’s due. He was asked to step in and take over for his boss in this battle. It’s never an easy task to lead one level above your position. It’s also never easy to lead warriors in the middle of an intense firefight in a combat zone.

Matt’s ability to do both tasks simultaneously demonstrates his amazing leadership skills.

As we went down memory lane talking about life in the Ranger regiment before Somalia, I wanted to remind Matt how impressed I was by his leadership on the city streets during the big battle that became known as Black Hawk Down.  Matt and I discussed the repeated focus on training for a situation like this while we were in the Ranger regiment. This training became known as the “fall out 1 drill.”

I can’t remember a situation in training when the Rangers didn’t practice this “fall out 1 drill.” This drill refers to removing a leader from the training environment and forcing people to begin to take responsibility one level above their current situation.  Everyone knew, at any time, they could be thrust into their boss’s position and expected to lead well with no notice. I’m convinced this drill made the guys next to me on the city streets of Somalia exceptionally capable of handling this complex and deadly fight.

I rarely see businesses or other organizations practice the fall out 1 drill. I want to convince you why you should incorporate this drill into your leadership training or professional career. So, here are my top five reasons.

Be conscious of how you fit into the whole puzzle

Organizations can be like a jigsaw puzzle. Although some pieces of a jigsaw puzzle stand out more than others, every piece has a place. Every piece is essential.  You will never be able to master the fall out 1 drill until you understand your role in the organization and how it impacts the people around you.

The primary goal of this drill is to help the entire organization and the individual get better simultaneously.

Be aware of what your boss is experiencing

Most people are so overwhelmed by circumstances that they rarely see what’s happening to others around them. This can be especially true of your boss.  However, I don’t need to know your boss to know they’re also experiencing challenges and difficulties.

The fall out 1 drill creates trust by forcing you to recognize the unique challenges and problems that your boss is experiencing.

Be ready for any problem

The grand goal of the fall out 1 drill is to build flexibility, creativity, and adaptability in an organization.  Of course, organizations consist of people. For organizations to have these traits, the people within the organization must also possess these traits.

The fall out 1 drill requires you to look at problems differently.  Seeing the problem from a different viewpoint can help you find solutions you would never have considered.

Be prepared for the next promotion

We all know somebody who struggled after getting promoted to the next level. Sometimes, people don’t have the inherent skills necessary for leading at the next level. However, sometimes people struggle to lead at the next level because they’ve never been adequately prepared for those leadership responsibilities.

The fall out 1 drill helps you identify the skills needed to excel at the next level in your organization.

Be able to perform above your current circumstances  

Your boss may not give you the chance to practice this drill.  However, even if your boss isn’t supportive of you moving to the next level, don’t let that stop you from thinking about the skills and experience needed at the next level of your career.  Even if you can’t practice the fall out 1 drill at work, you can research and train for this on your own time. 

Like Matt’s training before taking over the next level in combat, you can train for your next promotion. It doesn’t take a supervisor long to notice that you already display the qualities and skills necessary to lead at the next level of your career.  The fall out 1 drill might be why your company chooses to promote you to a next-level leadership position because you’ve been training for this moment long before someone gave you a chance to lead at the next level.

Listen to my recent interview with Matt as he describes what it was like to suddenly take over leadership in Somalia.   

Further reading

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