Make ‘Rules of Ranging’ Your Rules for Business: Part 5

October 10, 2019 Updated: October 16, 2019


In 1757, in the middle of the French and Indian War, Maj. Robert Rogers composed a list of 28 rules intended to serve as operational guidelines for his legendary and groundbreaking light infantry force, the original special operations unit known as “Rogers’ Rangers.”

These “Rules of Ranging” were a hybrid combination of Native American combat techniques and his own blend of guerrilla warfare, revolutionary in their own time and still a foundational element in special operations units such as the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment.

This list of combat-proven knowledge isn’t just applicable to the battlefield. In Part 5 of this series, we’ll continue to explore how you can adapt these strategies in your professional daily life.

Rule 13: ‘When lying in ambush, wait for the enemy to get close enough that your fire will be doubly frightening, and after firing, the enemy can be rushed with hatchets.’

Or ‘Patience and discipline are force multipliers.’

During an early battle in the American War of Independence, a famous order was supposedly issued to the colonial riflemen to not fire until “you see the whites of their eyes.” While not the first time this advice was given to combat troops, it’s the most well-known example of a higher command emphasizing the tactical importance of discipline when it comes to engaging the enemy.

While it’s true that you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, the success rate for undisciplined and/or rushed shots is almost the same. Taking the time to craft well-thought-out plans and standard operating procedures is time wasted if, when it comes time to execute, everyone panics and throws discipline out the window.

We’re all familiar with the adage “haste makes waste,” but how often do we actually keep this in mind when we go into reactive mode? You don’t have to move fast to be fast. Employing the fundamentals of your job in a calm and collected matter reduces friction; showing patience and discipline conserves energy and allows more focused, effective actions.

In other words, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

Rule 14: ‘At a campsite, the sentries should be posted at a distance to protect the camp without revealing its location. Each sentry will consist of six men with two constantly awake at a time.’

Or ‘Remember the world is bigger than your corner office.’

It’s a dangerous thing to assume that your own perceptions provide enough of a range to give you a full view of the world as it is. When you rely on your own field of view alone, you miss the overwhelming majority of what is going on around you.

The two most likely ways that your field of view will be compromised stem from success. First, sustained successes lull you into a false sense of security, in which you become unable to perceive forces moving and aligning against you. This is why you must remind yourself that complacency kills whenever you feel yourself getting comfortable. Intellectually, drowsiness eventually leads to sleep. It’s then that you become vulnerable.

The second way in which success can blind you is target fixation. When you become hyper-focused on a single goal, tunnel vision sets in; this peripheral blindness is a sacrifice you make to bring your target more into focus. However, over longer time frames, this adaptation becomes a glaring weakness. If you’re zooming in to the granular level, you need to make sure that someone is monitoring the view from 30,000 feet. When they attempt to grab your attention, you need to have the discipline to give it to them.

Rule 15: ‘The entire detachment should be awake before dawn each morning as this is the usual time of enemy attack.’

Or ‘Wake up and hit the ground running.’

When was the last time you were truly hungry? Not in the “Sure, I could eat” sense, but the deep, gnawing feeling of actual hunger that drives you into taking action. How many times do you hit the snooze button on your alarm? Do you make excuses about why you can’t workout more often than you actually do? The truth is, there are no fat and lazy apex predators. If you want to be at the top of your game, you can’t give your competition generous headstarts.

This isn’t about lazy motivational posts polluting your LinkedIn feed, in which people less successful than you are telling the world to “Rise and Grind.” If you want to be the type of person who lists their occupation as “motivator” and puts out podcasts that nobody listens to, that’s fine. Somebody has to self-publish motivational e-books; branding yourself as a thought leader is apparently a full-time gig.

However, if you want to legitimately be better tomorrow than you were today, simply commit to doing your work at levels you are proud of. Then, just keep doing that. Your competition is getting up every single day hoping that you decide to coast. If you start doing just that, they will be ready to pounce. And like it or not, they’ll deserve that victory.

Chris Erickson is a combat veteran and former Green Beret, with extensive experience deployed to various locations across the world. He now works in the communications industry. You can follow him on Twitter @EricksonPrime.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.