The Holy Trinity of Combat

Leadership Lessons from Special Warfare

The Holy Trinity of

First and foremost, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. I recently received my Merry Christmas and “Year in Review” from a friend and former teammate, and was reminded of some things that I hadn’t thought about in a while. I thought there was a leadership lesson in there as well. Plus, this is the perfect time of year to consider three things.

In the special warfare community, there is something called, “The Holy Trinity of Combat” and it is Buddies, Weapons and Options. I am going to try and explain them in the next few paragraphs and apply them to leadership so please bear with me for a few more minutes. I promise there is a point here.

First, there is BUDDIES. This applies to our teammates. Where are they? Where are they in relation to the enemy? And last but not least is what is our ability to fight? This was first in our trinity because it was important to know where your teammates are, where are they in relation to the goal and what is everyone’s status or injury? Chances were always good we were outnumbered so moving and fighting as a team was paramount.

What is the leadership point here? Where are you, mentally and physically, in relation to your team? Are you on the same page? Do they agree with you? Do they understand the goal? Do you have the ability to self-evaluate? Secondly, does your team understand the goal and the process of getting there? Do they have the right tools to accomplish their goal? Lastly do you have the tools to lead them? Can you reach your goals?

Second, there is WEAPONS. What is the current status of your (and our) weapons? How is the enemy armed? How can we best combine our weapons and tactics to inflict maximum damage? In this case, let’s say the enemy is the goal of the team and our weapons are our knowledge and tools. Do we have the right tools? Do we know what the goal requires?

What is the leadership point here? If we don’t have the right tools and or knowledge, then how do we acquire it? How can we best combine our tools and knowledge to reach the goal effectively?

Lastly, there is OPTIONS. What are our options for attack? How can we best engage, regroup and maneuver? If attacked how can we best recover and counter-assault in order to dominate?

What is the leadership point here? If the goal changes, or if the team shrinks do we have the ability to overcome and adapt as well? What is our plan for losing a team member in the middle of a conflict? What is our plan if someone changes or alters the goal? Are we prepared for the goal to grow beyond our current skill set?

This was an easy way to get us to think about or to start mission planning. Do you have a “Mission Plan” for 2016? If not, then feel free to think about the Holy Trinity of Combat and Leadership — Buddies, Weapons and Options. Maybe we can start with considering how is our family these days? What is our current mental state? Are we remembering why this season is important? And finally, what can we do as leaders to get our team refocused on the year ahead?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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I am a Christian, a Husband and a Father, in that order. Leadership is important to me, because I see too many outside influences acting on the lives of my children, and I need support to make sure I am the most dominant influence. I appreciate your feedback and enjoy reading your input. Thanks in advance for being part of this endeavor.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Kevin Bowser

    Billy, these are great thoughts to lead us into 2016. Is this the order in which you were taught? Or is this the order that you chose for your article. I could see it being several different orders.

  • Billy

    The Holy Trinity of Combat was really used as a “Thinking” exercise for us, a way to survey our situation, in relation to the team, the enemy and our mission. It was an attempt to always be conscious of what was happening around us. There were others, things like “No plan survives the first engagement” and “The only constant in a plan is the goal” and lastly “What would you do if you hit the beach naked” But that is a thought for another day.

  • Joshua Woods

    This stuff has direct application to what I’m working on right now in my church!

    • Kevin Bowser

      Great! I am glad that we are providing content that is relevant to where you find yourself these days. Billy is an amazing guy with some incredible insights.

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