“No plan survives contact with the enemy”
So if you can’t rely on plans what makes an army successful? some say drilling, the act of repeating a series of actions till they become so embed one could perform them literally without thought. This technique was probably passed down from the armies of Babylon or before. Drilling is sort of a mental disorder, in which one can take apart a fully automatic M16 rifle and put it back together in under a 90 seconds, at 2am while still asleep for no apparent “military” reason (this skill would probably be be as useless as egg balancing in battle) . Of course the sequence of falling, shooting and crawling when fired upon, seems more useful in combat, but both are traits that every army teaches, or should i says drills into its soldiers.
If it’s not its actions, nor its plans that sets the IDF apart from other armies, what makes the difference? Probably, simply the ability to adapt. “Adapt” which by no means should be confused with accepting the circumstances. This “adapt” is seeing a problem, understanding that it’s a problem and solving it, with whatever means available, be them army issued, or just plain available.
While this concept of adapting is quite straight forward, it’s probably one of the more complex things for an organization to do. People in orgnizations tend to gravitate to the other end of adapting, changing themselves to fit the situation that they find, rather then questioning the situation and working to change it. This leads to a wide array of issues, as things tend to get worst when they aren’t being made better (and in the army they get really worse).
So how does the IDF create such “Super Soldiers”? they give them responsibility from day one, not providing perfect conditions, but rather expecting them to be able to figure things out and improve on what they’re given. And this is not by design, but rather from a place of necessity and belief in the way things are and way people should be.
One of the most frequently used verbs in the IDF is LeSHF”ZAER, derived from the abbreviation of “Leshaper Tzora” which literally means to improve shape or form, you’re constantly improving on everything, nobody tells you how, but you find the knowledge and do what needs to be done to get things right. By the way the other most used army slang is the verb LeCAMBEN, which is derived from the world Combina, which comes from the English word Combination, usually used a slightly negative manner, this too means to organize things and process in a way that gets things done. Anything goes, as long as the situation at the end is to your favor.
The common characteristic is that they are both proactive and do not consist of a set of predefined actions or orders, they are the opposite of a plan, they are looking at the world and figuring out what needs fixing and taking action, again action that is not initiated at the top, but at the bottom, where it’s impact is felt.
If you can trust people, they will do what needs to be done, and make things work, but you really need to trust them. Can you?