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Teamwork lessons that came from the bin Laden raid

Teamwork, and bringing unique abilities together, was never more evident than during the dangerous mission to find Osama bin Laden that lit up the news on May 1. In addition to the 79 highly skilled and trained Navy Seals that were involved in the raid, there was one dog.

Few details are known about the specifics, but reports have disclosed that President Obama met with the team, including the dog, last Friday. Cairo, the Belgian Malinois, is the only team member whose name has been released.

A dog’s extraordinary sense of smell and hearing provides a skill that is unattainable by a human. Military and police dogs are often used to sniff out such things as bombs, human scents, and drugs, but this was different. This was dangerous, high-profile, a critical assignment. There is a beautiful article in The New York Times that provides an overview of the value of bringing dogs into the military work.

And since I love dogs, I think this is really cool. But more importantly, it’s a critical lesson for business executives. Where are we missing opportunities to involve other skills and talents on our teams? Of course, these strengths don’t have to come from dogs. They might come from a person in another department who has a new perspective precisely because they know nothing about the project. Or it might come from a competitor who would be open to collaborating for both parties’ interests. Anyone have other ideas they would be willing to share about unlikely sources of new talent?


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3 Comments

  1. didiwright on May 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I didn’t know about the dog, and I think it’s really cool. Also, I’m not surprised by it, since dogs ‘in uniform’ seem to be getting an increasingly higher profile here in the UK, and I can’t see why the US would be any different. Apart from police work, dogs also prove indispensible in finding and rescuing earthquake and flood victims, for example. It’s like the world has finally recognised how precious their help is and is allowing them an almost-citizen status. After all, they have been man’s best friends for so long.
    Unlikely sources of new talent? Hmm, I totally get your point but I can’t think of an example, so I’ll have to think of it for a bit. If anything springs to my mind, I’ll be back to share.

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide on May 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I love hearing about dogs that are highly trained like this. It’s just amazing the skills they have and the trust we can put in them.

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