Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ready, Set, Go!

Being able to lead a small band of intrepid survivors against the onslaught of Mutant Martial Artist Tortoises is an excellent skill for every post-apocalyptic leader. It is one that must be learned and honed. It must be carefully distilled from years of pre-apocolyptic leading.

Western Hermann's Tortoise, Wikipedia
It has a partner. A companion skill that no one likes to talk about.

After the Mutant Martial Artist Tortoises rise from the sewers to takeover the above world of roses, pleasant smells, and a distinct lack of human excrement, people will whisper about it behind closed doors. When they can find a building that still has its doors. And rooms.

But ladies, we will not be able to use this skill if we do not talk about it, if we do not practice it, before the Fecal Rebellion. We must know when to say, "Enough. I'm leaving. I wish you the best, but this just isn't working any longer."

Leaders should keep an eye out for the following signs of when their tenure should be up (even if there are still people to lead).
  • You have become impatient with the band of survivors.
  • Instead of focusing on how to prevent repetition of errors, you have begun to blame others when things go wrong.
  • You just don't seem to care anymore.

While I am specifically addressing those of us who will lead groups of insurgents against the amphibious sewer beasts, do not be mistaken: all people need this skill. If a leader should no longer lead, why should her band stay with her?

Leaving a group of people should not be done lightly. The decision should come after careful consideration. The act, after careful planning and training. Especially when lives depend on how that decision is made and implemented.

Imagine that you and several members of your Survival Cell have a falling out. Each of you has a different idea about how to lead the group. Each of you has a different idea about when or if to attack the Mutant Martial Artist Tortoises.

While many of you may have valid points, disbanding the Survival Cell or leaving out of anger is the wrong call. Part of the reason you have made it this far during the Fecal Rebellion is the group. Alone, without the proper provisions and planning, you are vulnerable. The group has survived this long because they had a strong leader who planned ahead. Without preparing yourself and the group, the chances that any of you survive to send those amphibious bastards back to the sewers drops dramatically.

Take Stock

How have you been as a leader? Does your band of survivors respect you? Do they fear you? Do you respect them?

Be honest. If you have been a good leader, you will have a much easier time preparing your group for when you step down or leave. If you have been a bit of a tyrant, your group may make that decision for you by leaving or removing you from your post without your consent.

How to Prepare the Survival Cell

If you are a leader who plans to leave, you should work with your group to help them continue to survive and thrive after you have walked away into the mist and the fog.

Talk to the Survival Cell
Find out through conversation who they trust. Who would they consider a good leader?

Let them know that you will be leaving but that you do not want to leave them unprepared. Tell them that you want them to succeed without you. Mean it.

Groom New Leaders
Rather than picking one person to lead, choose a few of the Survival Cell members how to be leaders.

Selecting a few people to teach how to lead means that there is a group of people who can work for the group's best interest. It also will help whomever is ultimately chosen because she will not be alone: others will know what to do and will be able to help her when she needs it. She will also avoid being considered part of a budding dynasty.

When selecting the group of leaders in training, try not to play favorites. Others of the Survival Cell will have noticed if you have favorites and will know when you pick them for grooming. Playing favorites will undermine your by causing strife and in-fighting amongst your refugees.

Make Sure Everyone is Doing the Right Job
When you talk to your people, ask them about their day-to-day lives. Ask them about the responsibilities they have and how they feel about them. Find out what about their new lives as Fecal Rebellion Survivors can be improved and do your best to implement those changes.

I know that turtles and tortoise are not the same.
Chinese Turtle Soup from Wikipedia
For example, if Rachel Ray and Andrulla Blanchette are part of your group, having Rachael cook and Andrulla help collect wood for fires might be better than the reverse. However, if Andrulla wants to learn some of Rachael's culinary techniques, that should  be arranged. Allowing people to branch out will improve their skill sets and boost their happiness. No one wants to feel trapped. (Plus, having more than one person who is handy in the kitchen is never wrong.)

Of course certain tasks are non-negotiable: everyone has to do look out duty. However, that doesn't mean that everyone has to do it alone or that Joanie has to have the 3 AM to 8 AM shift every single night.

Make Sure You Have a Plan
Staying with your Survival Cell after you step down as leader will not be easy. Your best bet may be to find an help another group. If you want to strike off on your own, do it, but be prepared. Learn the skills you need to survive without a group of people who have your back.

Do you know how to hunt? To gather plants? To prepare a fire? To cook? Having these skills, and others like them, will help you survive on your own. They will also make you a valuable asset to another band of survivors who need to learn how to thrive.

Follow me on Twitter: @Anypocalypse

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