In this chapter, the author recounts an instance when a hostage was being held in a fortified stronghold of the enemy. The SEAL team was tasked with retrieving the hostage. What the SEAL team knew was that the enemy was ruthless and even when ransoms were paid, the hostages were still killed. They needed to act fast. They put a plan in place that was designed to catch the enemy off guard, reducing the risk to the SEAL team while still giving the best chance of success. Just before the team was to start the mission, new intelligence was shared that included additional IED placements and a machine gun position. The information was shared with the rest of the SEAL team, but the original plan remained intact. The mission was implemented with the hostage being saved and no SEAL team members being injured. The author states that even though they received last-minute intel, there was no need to modify their plan because that type of contingency was already accounted for in their plan. SEAL teams not only plan for the mission, but they also plan for as many contingencies as possible. “You could never assume such hazards weren’t waiting for you on a target. You had to assume they were, and you had to plan for them on every operation and mitigate the risk of those threats as much as possible.” In addition, after every mission, the SEAL team would perform a debriefing to determine what worked and what did not. They would then take that information into account to refine their actions for the next mission. “The best teams employ constant analysis of their tactics and measure their effectiveness so that they can adapt their methods and implement lessons learned for future missions.”
Planning is something we do in education regardless of our position. Teachers do lesson plans, principals design building-level improvement plans, and superintendents are responsible for comprehensive district plans. Planning is everywhere. However, how effective are our plans? Do we have any sort of mechanism in place that we consistently use to measure the effectiveness of the plan? Additionally, what is in place to ensure we learn from our mistakes? Although we plan, we do not always do these two things; we do not have a procedure for investigating the outcome of our plan, and we have no mechanisms to ensure that we learn and adjust. As a teacher, I would meticulously plan my lessons for the week. Typically, this would occur on a Saturday morning with a large pot of coffee. I would then teach that lesson plan the following week. I would make minor adjustments. If something didn’t work, I’d put a note on that plan in the hope I would remember to fix it next year. Looking back, this was not an effective method. As a superintendent, we would implement our district comprehensive plan with every intention of monitoring it. But in reality, that rarely occurred. For a plan to be effective, it not only needs to be simple and thorough, but it also needs to be investigated after completion so that lessons can be learned.
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