Mike Figliuolo’s favorite part of being a tank platoon leader was taking his men on a tank gunnery exercise—essentially “a shooting range with some really big cannons.”
But a new soldier who transferred into his platoon (Figliuolo calls him Specialist England) flouted rules, took a sloppy approach and lacked fire in the belly.
No amount of yakking helped.
Then one hot day at the gunnery, the men were playing cards when Figliuolo sent his driver out to buy sodas, telling him to pick up a certain number of Cokes, Pepsis, a Mountain Dew and a 7UP. On returning, the driver asked Figliuolo who got which drinks and distributed them.
“How did you know I drink 7UP?” England asked the driver.
“I didn’t,” the driver said. “Lt. Figliuolo did. He told me to get it for you.”
Puzzled, England turned to the officer and asked, “You know I drink 7UP?”
“Yeah, I do.”
With a smirk and a nod, England said, “You’re all right, sir.” Things changed that week, Figliuolo says. England became a different soldier. He voluntarily did all the things he used to balk at. He smiled. He enjoyed gunnery. He acted like a member of the platoon.
“I’m not sure exactly why this change occurred,” Figliuolo says today. “Maybe 7UP is much better than I thought. Or maybe it was simply that he knew someone on the team cared about him.”
— Adapted from “Authentic : He Drinks 7UP,” Mike Figliuolo, Thought Leaders blog, thoughtleadersllc.blogspot.com.
Tip: For more leadership tips, read our free report, Best Practices Leadership: Team Management Tips.
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