Squad ~ Cass Tech High School, Detroit Michigan, October 1991.

REAL Leadership: My Squad

I didn’t become Dr. Donna by being unfocused, undisciplined or uncommitted.

When I was a 17-year-old cadet in JROTC, I commanded Squad for the city wide drill competition. Our high school was and still is a College Prep school. It was not known for winning this yearly competition.

Here’s the background:

I had spent my Summer attending Basic Training in the U.S. Army. Equipped with my new level of disciplined we trained every day for 6 weeks outside in the morning before school. We trained in the rain, the sun, the cold and the snow.

It’s important to note that a female cadet had never commanded Squad at my school, nor had a Squad ever been comprised of freshman, sophomores, junior’s and seniors. The odds were well beyond stacked against us. On the day of the competition we were more than ready. When we finished, I saw a slight smile on the Sergeant Majors face. I knew we had done well.

Six weeks later we received the news that we had won. We placed first out of 21 Detroit High schools.

What’s interesting is that during those 6 weeks of daily practice, the other cadets laughed at us. Our height difference from the shortest to the tallest was 4’11–5’11 and it was a male cadet that was the shortest and a female cadet that was the tallest.

I didn’t select the star cadets to become members of our squad. I selected the ones who understood what we were doing. Who knew that I was going to be extremely hard on them and most importantly knew that, they had to be disciplined to show up ready every day.

So yeah, from the outside we probably did not “look the part.” What we did was become the cadets we needed to be to win.

My Final Thoughts

I’ve maintained this level of discipline my entire life and I’ve got the track record to prove it. I just know that 30 years later, Real Leadership has brought out the BEST in those willing to be disciplined enough to access their best. I CAN’T do average, I CAN’T do mediocre, not when I know what happens to a person when they accomplish a goal they never dreamed was possible. So yeah, most people won’t ever become a REAL Leader because they lack the discipline to hold themselves personally accountable to become their best. But for the few of you that want to be on my squad, Welcome!

Dr. Donna

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Dr. Donna Thomas-Rodgers

Dr. Donna Thomas-Rodgers

Learn how to become your best by holding yourself personally accountable daily.