What is Cohesion Project?
Cohesion Project is a highly motivated and dedicated professional team that offers “boot-camp” style training that helps groups learn how to work together better — to cohere as team members. Training is conducted by former and current military personnel with real-world drill instructor experience.
The training is both physically rigorous and mentally challenging. Its immediate intent is to simulate the pressure exerted on teams during intense competition when team members must rely on one another to prevail in the face of adversity. Long term, the training aims to cultivate in trainees an appreciation for the personal qualities that contribute to successful team membership (focus, initiative, effort, respect for others, humility, and leadership).
Lessons Learned from Training
Clock in & Focus
During Cohesion Project training, trainees are expected to demonstrate over and over again their commitment to the training and their team members. Two immediate and fundamental ways they do this are by being on time (clocked in) for each training session and giving instructors their full attention (focus) during each session.
Trainees must be alert and respond appropriately in a clear and decisive manner to any instruction or comment made to them by an instructor. As with everything required of trainees during training, instructors model the expected responses and behavior before directing trainees to comply in kind.
Attitude is Contagious
Trainees must also show they are “all in” for Cohesion training and their teammates through their attitude. Beyond verbal responses, instructors keep a sharp eye out for posture, facial expression, and body language that suggest trainees are less than engaged. When instructors notice these cues, they immediately and forcefully call the trainee out for special attention, usually in the form of extra exercise. Instructors are vigilant in rooting out poor attitudes because, as pointed out repeatedly during training, attitude is contagious. Poor attitude is dangerous because it can quickly infect a team and hinder its performance. One of the aims of Cohesion training is to cultivate a positive attitude, as shown in behaviors such as taking the initiative, making the extra effort, and putting the needs of others before self, even (and especially), while under personal duress.
No "Q" in Team
Cohesion training places such a high premium on attitude because it is the foundation for the team’s ability to withstand and overcome challenges. Poor attitude is the closest cousin to quitting, and quitting in any form is not tolerated during Cohesion training. Suppose a poor attitude erodes a team’s spirit; the option of quitting kills it. With its exhaustive pace and insistent stress on top-level performance, Cohesion training seeks to instill in trainees a “keep going, no matter what” mindset.
Trainees who instead allow themselves to succumb to a quitting mindset are not only singled out for special correction. They may also find themselves expelled from training, contingent upon an appeal made to their teammates to gain acceptance.
Pick Each Other Up
Everything about Cohesion training is designed to promote team awareness and commitment. Trainees experience the stress and hardship of training first as individuals, then as team members. Early on in training, the large training group is divided into smaller teams, led by team members working directly under training instructors. Trainees soon learn that there are two ways to receive attention: when their performance falls short of team standards or when they show they can support their teammates. Trainees chosen to be leaders keep or lose their leadership roles according to how well they support and pick up their teammates. Those not currently in leadership roles are nevertheless motivated by trainers to encourage and assist fellow teammates, including their leaders. Though Cohesion training leaves no space for poor attitude, it recognizes that failure is inevitable, indeed necessary for growth. By design, Cohesion training exerts pressure to expose individual weakness, but only to show how it can be overcome through the collective strength of the team.
Communicate to Lead & Succeed
Exactly how do teammates pick each other up? Communicating can take many forms: a good play, a shouted instruction, a quiet talk with a teammate pulled aside, a raised hand (I’m open, or I don’t understand), and a glance at a critical moment. Effective communication, a central component of effective leadership, is knowing whom you are communicating with and what will get your message across to them. This is something good teammates learn about each other by trying to and then succeeding at, picking each other up. The more that teammates try to “talk” to one another, in whatever form that talk takes, the stronger the bonds they form and the greater their chances of success as a team. Cohesion training consistently drives this point home and also devotes part of one session to discussing the intersection of leadership and communication with trainees.
Respect is Given
… or Given Away
It is probably fair to say that most trainees learn the lessons offered during Cohesion training on a trial-and-error basis. Under the barrage of drills and calisthenics, trainees try to acknowledge every command they receive verbally but often forget to comply with the instruction. Trainees try to follow the call-and-response that is supposed to trigger each warm-up drill but often fail to do so, sometimes due to distractions intentionally thrown in by instructors. Small team leaders try to “pick up” their teammates as they struggle through set after set of exercises but are often unable to push past their fatigue. One lesson that is not talked about a lot during training but comes through loud and clear is how respect is given and can be easily given away.
The Cohesion instructors, by their bearing and deeply ingrained military training experience, automatically command respect. But more important is how they show respect to trainees. In every command issued or correction given, they grant trainees the fundamental respect owed to them as human beings. They model respect by maintaining perfect personal control as they keep each trainee’s well-being and vulnerability at the forefront of their attention, even as they bark orders at maximum volume from two or three feet away.
Trainees come out from the Cohesion experience feeling pushed to their mental and physical limits, but they also come away feeling cared for. Once they leave Cohesion training, trainees remember how it made them feel and keep trying to apply its lessons in the team room, during a game, on the bench, and later in life.
We can help your organization and team be more cohesive & effective.
Even the most practiced team requires fine-tuning and minor adjustments from time to time to tighten performance and increase productivity through tried and true methods to achieve maximum efficiency & cohesion. Call us, email, or complete the below submission form to learn how Cohesion Project, LLC can help.