My Experience at LC’s Leadership Training Course by Jay Rice
The year was 2006 and I was managing a team of people in my role as CEO for the U.S. division of a European camera manufacturer. At that time I was looking for an interesting leadership training course that would provide our team with an advantage over our larger and better financed competitors. Somehow I stumbled upon a company called Leading Concepts. They offered a military style leadership immersion course for civilians that was expected to dramatically improve your leadership and communication skills in less than a week. The information on their website was intentionally vague. They said, “this is no comfy university training and this is no hug fest either”. Naturally, I was intrigued. I called and talked to one of their representatives. He was a former U.S. Army Ranger who told me the whole course was based on the proven leadership principals of highly effective military teams and it would be like no other civilian training anywhere. I would have to fly to Lexington Kentucky with nothing more than a backpack and a change of clothes. I could not bring my cell phone, computer, food, or any other electronic device as it was considered ‘contraband’. I would be roughing it for a whole week, cutoff from the outside. There was no agenda and this was not for college credit or a fancy certificate. I had to have complete faith. Considering I already had degrees from a ‘cushy university’ and had training at other prestigious classrooms and wanted my leadership skills to advance rapidly I decided to take the leap of faith and booked my ticket to Kentucky.
I flew in late afternoon and spent the evening at the designated meeting place – a motel outside Lexington, Kentucky. The next morning in the lobby about a dozen people of various ages and backgrounds filled the waiting area with backpacks and duffle bags. These must be my fellow classmates I thought. I was right. As I checked out of my room and started making small talk with a few of the other participants I noticed an unmistakable sight out of the corner of my eye. A guy dressed in a full army uniform with tactical boots, insignias and hat opened the door and walked into the lobby. Not only was the site of a real soldier in a band of civilians impressive – the guy was physically impressive as well. He was tall (about 6 feet 2) and a solid 195 pounds with dark hair and chiseled features. Plus, it was the way he moved – like you would expect from a Special Forces operator – full fluidity of motion – and total confidence. As you can imagine he got all of our attention. We were all focused on him. Which is why my jaw nearly dropped when the first words out of his mouth were, “I’m looking for Jay Rice”.
“I’m Jay Rice” – I said. “Ok follow me”, he said. We proceeded down the end of the hallway and sat at a small desk. There was no small talk – it was all about the mission. He informed me that I was the first PL (‘platoon leader’) and my first objective was to instruct my team (my classmates in the lobby) to locate the supply trailer on the property and everyone was to select their camouflage uniform from the trailer and proceed to the bus within 15 minutes as the bus left in 20 minutes. Next, during the 90 minute drive to our meeting point I was to designate each team member a role and we were to read and understand the instructions on the hand signals needed to travel silently in unison. As the first PL the pressure was on me. Over the next few days I would be the PL a few more times and by then I had learned a ton about myself and about communication styles. Leading Concepts also had this fascinating metaphor called the ‘MODD’ and a MODD is anything that ‘Makes Our Day Difficult’. Our training at LC was all about how to tackle the MODD and even how to bounce back when the MODD attacks you unexpectedly. This was some of the most interesting and memorable training I’ve ever had and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique Leadership Course.