The above photograph is telling of what ensures the men in uniform, under life threatening situations, perform day after day in extreme treacherous conditions, facing bullets, undergoing tremendous hardships of terrain and work conditions and survive!
You’ll acquiesce that it is not one factor that leads to success and necessarily a combination of factors that lead to the success of a team. Individual achievements aside, it is the team that has to perform. So what makes us tick? What are the factors that lead to success? And most importantly, can any of these help me survive in the world outside the uniform?
Let me begin with the one most glaring fact of the photograph above. You see a ‘buddy pair’ operating in unison looking after each other. The system of buddy pairs is an age old system prevalent in the Army and has been responsible for saving many a lives and ensuring success.
Wikipedia describes it as, “The buddy system is a procedure in which two people, the “buddies”, operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other. As per Merriam-Webster, the first known use of the phrase “buddy system” goes as far back as 1942. Webster goes on to define the buddy system as “an arrangement in which two individuals are paired (as for mutual safety in a hazardous situation).” The buddy system is basically working together in pairs in a large group or alone. Both the individuals have to do the job. The job could be to ensure that the work is finished safely or the skill/learning is transferred effectively from one individual to the other.
How does it work in field? How does it deliver result under such conditions? What are the factors which ensure success? Can I adopt it here to protect myself?
The buddies cover each other’s back. They look at their area of responsibility, the first buddy looks from 9’0 to 12’0 clock direction (ninety degrees) and the other buddy looks after from 12’0 clock to 3’0 clock direction. Thus the pair cannot be surprised by any lurking danger/ enemy. Thus the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts“. The buddies feed off each other’s strength, they know each other intimately (they are paired checking out their compatibility/ village/ affinity), and operate together. They revel in each other’s success and cover for each other’s shortcomings, if any. They train together and work in unison like a well oiled machine. Well, you get the idea!!!
I always recommend adoption of the buddy system in your day to day life too! It is the best tool to ensure Women Safety and fight Child Sexual Abuse. Move around, operate and work in pairs. Now, take your mind back to all the incidents of say, child abuse in the schools. The predator would find a secluded place (toilet/ gymnasium/ parking lot) and molest the innocent victim. If only the teacher/ parent/ guardian followed the age old practice of a buddy system. Take your mind to the school at 11 a.m when all the classes are on and all the teachers are in the classrooms. Megha wants to visit the toilet. Alone she is a potential victim. Now, when Megha has to visit the toilet, the teacher must send her buddy Neha along. The two are formidable. The predator is deterred. Should he still think of executing his nefarious plans, Neha can scream, alternatively, Neha can run and seek help. And the possibilities are manifolds. The drastic drop in such activities in schools where I’ve propounded the buddy system has shown very positive results. This could be applied for the car pool, the sports field and you think of any situation, it always works!!
As Megha grows up, this could also be implemented in the work place, party scene – or any other situation. One could have different sets of partners in crime but the buddy system always works.
Now you know, what saved my life. After 25 years in the uniform, I can confidently say and credit my survival to my buddy. This blog is to eulogize my buddy, but for him the days in the uniform would surely would’ve have been numbered.