Q&A with CEO, Ben, on training the England Football Team
With the success of the England Football team in their first World Cup game, beating Iran 6-2, they demonstrated the Commando Spirit and Mindset. Something instilled in them by none other than our Co-founder and CEO, Ben, when he trained the team back in 2017.
Here’s a Q&A with Ben about his time spent with the England Football team.
So, Ben, you got to train the England Football team! How did the opportunity come about?
I trained the England football team back in 2017. It was part of a training program that oversaw the Royal Marines supporting the team in solidifying the values they and Gareth Southgate had created, that would go forward with them to the 2018 World Cup.
Gareth Southgate approached the Royal Marines (in fact, his Grandad was an ex-marine) and requested a training package to be provided by the Commando. This would give the England Football team and staff a unique training experience like no other. I was fortunately selected as part of a small team to provide the training package for them.
What did the training involve?
Royal Marines basic training is an arduous 32-week programme that encompasses physical and mental challenges and tests. Gareth Southgate wanted the England Football team to experience small doses of Royal Marines training to imbed the new Three Lions values.
Over the weekend, the team was taught how to cook and survive in the field. They learnt basic woodland and urban fighting skills, ran several assault courses, and even spent time in the classroom with us, learning about the values and ethos of the Royal Marines.
Do you have a stand-out memory from this experience?
Many of the players were completely approachable and it didn't take long for their walls to drop and for everyone to connect on a personal level.
My fondest memory was sitting in front of a small fire in the woods at 1 am, drinking hot chocolate with Harry Kane and a few of the staff. We were exchanging stories about recent deployments in Afghanistan and in return, I asked the obligatory questions on what it is like to score in front of 70,000+ fans. It was remarkable.
Spending quite a unique moment with the England Captain, not only learning about how elite athletes tick. But also in return sharing how a marines mindset works. I have stayed in touch with many of them, Harry included, ever since.
How can Royal Marines' values and behaviours be applied to nurture high-performing teams?
The Royal Marines’ ethos is what makes up the mindset of a Commando.
"To be the first to understand, the first to adapt and respond, and the first to overcome.”
This, alongside our values; excellence, integrity, self-discipline, and humility, combined with our spirits; courage, determination, unselfishness, and cheerfulness, is what makes up the Commando Mindset.
When such thinking is applied to any situation, during often tough and challenging moments, the application of this ethos is often what leads to the ability of the Royal Marines to perform at such high standards.
When teams and organisations can learn to implement similar thinking patterns in their employees, supported by strong overarching values, and in particular, ethos, they stand a far greater chance of unlocking great potential in each and every person.
Finally, how do you think England will do in the 2022 World Cup?
Well, it's coming home, isn't it?! 🏆
Ben can be heard talking about this experience and much more in his episode of Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett here. You can also read more about the Commando Mindset in Ben’s Penguin Business book, Commando Mindset.
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