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5 Things I Learned from the Bomb Squad Conference

I once had the incredible opportunity to speak into the lives of forty top Salvation Army leaders from the Eastern Territory of the United States. We talked about engaging culture in today’s digital age, developing great teams, and becoming more effective influencers. It was a terrific time. But during our sessions, we were next door to a law enforcement conference focused on men and women from bomb squads across the country. During the breaks, I had the chance to talk to a few, and learned some ideas that all of us could use in our own leadership:

1. These folks were the elite of their profession.  Anyone who’s willing to confront a live, ticking bomb has my vote as a hero. They have courage to spare. And yet, they’re not afraid to talk about fear. I’m reminded of the quote from John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”  They’ve learned how to perform in spite of fear – and it saves lives.

2. They are remarkably disciplined.  Many come from military backgrounds, and as a result, have a high level of personal discipline. While many dressed casually, they weren’t slouches. In the conference, I noticed they were all attentive, took notes, and were serious. They loved to read, and their presence at the conference told me they were life-long learners.

3. They were confident.  Not arrogant, but confident. That only comes from expertise in the field, and long experience. They know their stuff.

4. At the same time, they were incredibly polite.  Bump into someone in the hallway, and they were the first to apologize. They were the ones who would step out of the way first, or open a door for someone else.

5. They love animals.  There were some with their bomb sniffing dogs, and you could tell there was deep love and respect both ways. They treat their dogs like they treat everyone else – with grace and courtesy, but expect a high level of discipline from the dogs as well.

… Oh. And one more thing. Apparently the bomb squad likes girl coffee.  I noticed at their coffee station, next to the coffee pots they had added whipped cream and sprinkles.  Hey – I don’t know about you, but I’m not making fun of it……

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