I felt the need to follow up the article that published last week, Resistance to Change: The Five Monkeys Syndrome.
My help is sought out on a consistent basis from high school and college drill teams and also first responder honor guard units. I teach courses and, when asked, also give free advice over the phone, through email or on videos on any subject in the Military Drill World.
The picture at right is from my book, The Honor Guard Manual, I purposefully did not wear gloves for the pictures so that readers could see the exact positioning of my hands and fingers.
I also give advice to many others even when they don’t ask. Those results are 80%-20%. The 80% is people receive the advice in a positive manner, the 20% is the opposite. I don’t know if those numbers are exact, I haven’t accomplished a scientific study, it’s a guess, really- most people do receive the advice very well and sometimes it leads to a great conversation and then…
Not long ago, I had a brief conversation on one of my social media accounts with an individual. He was nice enough but presented the argument of, “We like the way we do what we do.” It was a small issue really, but one that I felt needed to be fleshed out, I don’t want anyone in the honor guard community to not look as professional as possible.
How the conversation went:
Indiv: So, we need to change just because you say so?
DM: No, not at all, just want you to be as professional as possible.
Indiv: That’s your opinion.
DM: That’s right and it is based on over 25 years of experience.
Indiv: There is more than one way to render honors.
DM: True and sometimes there is a better way.
Indiv: There is a nice way to approach it (telling someone).
DM: And what way would that be? Any advice can be seen as an attack. People are trained a certain way and feel it is best. Another says there is a better, sharper way and the person feels if he changes or even agrees he is betraying his trainers.
A national standard did not exist for first responder honor guard units until I published my book, The Honor Guard Manual, in 2011, now in its Second (expanded) Edition. Who am I to establish a national standard? I am just a guy who saw the need, that’s all. No one is forced to adopt every single movement described in the manual; the manual is there for use and if a team chooses to use all, some or none of it, that is completely up to them, it doesn’t bother me. I will always make suggestions, however, and whether those suggestions are adopted or not, is not my concern.
Besides the, “Well, that’s the way we have always done it” mentality, a sense of betrayal is why some changes will never be made, for the better, in my opinion, for some teams. And that’s too bad.