The Element: Chapter 18


We have come to the point where we have some basic topics that were ideated through each of the five learning levels of the Element, an Elite 5-Man Team,” T said. “We have performed the roles for years and know how to make it work, but have not been able to document it. I am sure that by writing down our experiences and rules, there will be many that find all this familiar. So, the only thing left to do for this stage is to summarize our knowledge dossier for the border crossing, our approval to move to the Design Thinking Prototype step.

Team Leader: T
Point-Man: Freelance
First Defense-Man: Test Drive
Second Defense-Man: Rusty
Rear Security: Coach

The team found themselves walking around downtown Wyandotte, Michigan again. T was in the Team Leader position, and was ready to set the stage for the current meeting.  Freelance moved to the front of the team to assume the Point-Man position. He led the team to the front door of Sports Bar & Grill.

Sports Bar & Grill.jpg

“This is our destination,” Freelance said, “but we have work to do before we celebrate the completion of the Ideate step.”

Test Drive pulled out several black lights from a ruck sack, and attached them to the side window of the bar through a series of suction devices. He then unrolled a statically charged piece of plastic that sucked up to the window, revealing the five learning steps.

“Why the black lights,” Rusty asked.

“I am still working on my mobile project board,” Test Drive scoffed. “The plastic sticks to just about anything. In fact, I just saw a great design of a fresco, so I put the plastic over right over it and sketched it.”

“And was this fresco just out in public,” Rusty asked?

“It might have been on the Detroit Institute of Arts,” Test Drive said sheepishly.

“Coach, was the alarm system just magically turned off?” Rusty asked.

“It might have been tampered with a little bit,” Coach said.

“Enough!” Freelance yelled. “We are here to wrap up our mission phase, and I am getting thirsty. And if Test Drive and Coach can’t keep their questionable extracurricular activities out of the conversation with our most ethical team member, I am going to beat you both with a black light.”

Freelance looked up at the plastic and prepared to guide the team through the learning phases of an Element that were summarized on the surface when the black lights were turned on.

“The Heart,” Freelance said, “representing the first step in learning, where we can identify the roles that are involved in missions pursued by an Element.”

  1. Team Leader
  2. Point-Man
  3. First Defense-Man
  4. Second Defense-Man
  5. Rear Security
  6. Prober
  7. Border Crossing Guard
  8. Merchant
  9. Cobbler

“The Club, represents the rules for how the Element roles interact together. We use the rules to create order, making some sense of the interaction through assigned responsibility. When we become self-aware and identify what needs to be done, it can then be applied to higher level learning steps where we practice and perfect them through action.”

  1. Leapfrogging
  2. Team Leader finalizes documentation for the previous meeting where they performed the Point-Man position.
  3. Point-Man chooses meeting location to heighten the experience.
  4. First and Second Defense-Men add commentary on offense…..
  5. Rear Security fills in the holes that the team has missed, taking a higher level look at the topic.
  6. Prober is elected to represent the team at the border crossing, where the border crossing guard examines the mission phase progress to provide a go, no-go decision to proceed to the next Design Thinking mission phase.
  7. The Merchant is an agent with expert level techniques to acquire, create, document, categorize, and store intelligence information.
  8. The Cobbler creates and maintains identification dossiers and matches agents to mission roles.

“Test Drive, you are in the First Defense-Man role, ” Freelance said. “Why don’t you elaborate on the Spade.”

It represents common industry standard terms and methods that are used to define mission methods, progress and success,” Test Drive said. “Honestly, I see this learning phase as the language used to support the Element’s communication and provide a basis for actions that we perform. They are the smallest tasks performed on a mission, allowing an agent to focus and prove their proficiency on each.”

  1. Relevant Scope
  2. Size
  3. Schedule
  4. Industry Terms

“Rusty, you are the Second Defense-Man,” Freelance said. “What do you have to say about our Diamond phase?”

“The Diamond,” Rusty said, “they are expensive!”

“Hey,” snapped T, “what does that mean?”

“It means that putting together the steps for an Element to perform a mission takes a lot of energy,” Rusty said. “Think what you may, but my comment was by no means in relationship to a gemstone. We go beyond the basics, and are now capable to working on missions that are familiar or common. Not talking about an elite level, but it does not exclude the mission being difficult to resolve.”

  1. Golden Rule, Listening, Taking Turns Talking, A little bit about roles
  2. Listening to Hear and using good interrogation techniques
  3. Action of meeting regularly to talk about and rehearse the roles

“Coach, what does the Black Diamond represent to you?” Freelance asked.

“Now we are playing at the elite level,” Coach said. “Years of knowledge, people and team member experience supports the ability to take on missions that are unique.”

  1. Identifying Team Member Boundaries
  2. Theory of Mind
  3. Level II Listening

“Do we just self proclaim ourselves as an Element?” Freelance asked. “How do you know when we have reached a level of elite wisdom or knowledge for mastering the Element methods?”

“Easy,” Coach said. “The team can feel it when they operate together. It can be self proclaimed, but it also will become apparent if it is a lot of hot air. Interestingly enough, an elite ranking means very little to the elite team. They are hyper-focused on achieving the mission and making life better through their success. Titles are only a name that cannot encompass the true meaning of an elite performance.”

“Rusty,” Freelance said, “you will be the Prober, our representative to present our case for moving the mission forward. Do we have a sufficient amount of information here to proceed to the Design Thinking Prototype mission step?

“We have all the pieces documented,” Rusty said. “Now we just need permission to move it forward.”

“Good,” Freelance said. “Pack up the mobile project board and let’s get ourselves some Dirty Blondes.”

“I hope that is not another jab at women?” T asked.

“You are very sensitive tonight,” Freelance said. “Actually, Dirty Blonde is one of the local Michigan beers on tap at the bar.  Let’s celebrate our progress.”

Dirty Blonde

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