When asked what is the most important aspect of Special Forces training, people often think it is all about the physical strength and mental toughness. The nature of the Special Forces (SF) tasks obviously demands them to be in excellent physical shape as well as being persistent in achieving their objectives. However, there is a more important reason why SF puts so much effort in training and rehearsing their skills.
We all have seen pictures and (Hollywood) movies where SF training is all about a drill sergeant yelling at the recruits, a lifetime worth of push-ups and enough obstacle courses to become one yourself. Building a strong physique and growing mentally stronger are undisputed qualities for SF. Indeed they need to be able to withstand severe and extreme conditions, walk great distances while carrying a heavy load and still be able to do their, often dangerous and complex work. But SF rarely work alone. They are mostly working in (small) teams and in that, they are the best of the best. Their teams are representing what companies want (but lack) in their organizations: unconditional trust, loyalty and self-sacrifice for the greater good or for others!
SF teams train in all sorts of scenarios in different disciplines like counter terrorism, hostage rescue, VIP protection, special reconnaissance or direct action. Can they foresee every scenario? No, they can't and the reason why they train in so many different versions of a situation is not to know exactly how the possible operation would go down. The training, in fact the many trainings they undertake, is used to create the perfect team they need to be. By training they gain self-confidence. By training they gain trust in each other. It is because of all those many hours of training they do, that these elite team members know they can count on everyone in the team. Moreover, they know all SF members train in that way. So when a new team member enters a team, trust and loyalty are already at the highest level. They know they can count on each member to take care of the others. No back stabbing here, no odd behavior aimed at gaining position at the cost of other team members, no hidden agendas. Just teams operating at the highest professional level in extremely dangerous and hostile environments. Always keen on identifying lessons to turn them into lessons learned. Always using After Action Reviews. Not to point the finger to one person, but to not make the same mistake again! So train to learn and show your weaknesses instead of hiding them. Train passionately and not because you were send to participate. And share your learning experiences for others to grow by.
It is those elements of SF teams that makes them the best of the best. Those typical characteristics that business teams are so eager to incorporate and cherish.
Do as Special Forces do; focus on trust and loyalty. That will toughen your people up for the most challenging assignments.