|"Hi, my name is Chuck, and I'll be your|
Photo credit: Septic Rainbow
They [Delta] could be comically arrogant. When they'd gotten a list of potential target sites, for instance, the D-boys had divvied them up among different teams. Each was assigned to draw up an assault plan. Since his men were involved, [Captain] Steele had sat in on the meeting when the various schemes were presented. The captain's experience with such a planning session was like this: You say there are took notes and asked questions only to make sure you got things down correctly and then saluted on your way out.
The D-boys' meeting was a free-for-all. One group would present its plan and somebody would pipe up, "Why, that's the stupidest thing I ever heard," which would provoke a sturdy "F--- you," which quickly degenerated into guys screaming at each other. It looked to Steele like they were about to assume Kung Fu stances and have it out.Funny question: think to your last brainstorming session at work or your last group meeting. I'll bet it was more like Delta's meetings than not.
While it's terribly important in meetings (and seminars and conferences) to have civility, IMO it's far more valuable to have untrammeled critical thinking and open disagreement. Hopefully, such disagreements will allow for the nomination of testable hypotheses and plans to test them. While I don't think it's ever a good idea to tell someone "Why, that's the stupidest thing I ever heard", rigid conformity and repression of disagreement might just be deadlier to a project or a concept or an organization.
*In 1993, then-President Clinton sent a team of Army Rangers and Delta operators to capture Mohammed Farah Aidid, a warlord in Mogadishu, Somalia. Rangers are younger and less experienced, while Delta is considered the most elite special operations group in the US Army. Captain Mike Steele was the head of the Ranger company working with the Delta operators.