You have two options when it comes to conducting a full-fledged Bug Out operation. One is to go it alone or with the immediate family or facilitate the creation of a SHTF Team to share the mission. There are pros and cons to either route you take. However, for this treatise let’s explore some of the attributes to building a sound Bug Out Team (BOT). Hey, if you guys can create acronyms that nobody understands then why not me?
By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author
“What one can do well, two can do better”? “There is strength in numbers”. “There is NO ‘I’ in TEAM”. For the many of you SHTFBlog.com readers that work in organizational leadership roles, management, or lead your own businesses, then you have likely heard such statements. These are often remarked to motivate and encourage others.
Even if you are not in a “boss” role, you may be a member of some kind of team. It might be shift coordinator, a production line worker, fast food employee, 2nd baseman on the company softball team, or you serve on a civic organization committee, church delegation, or some other role where tasks or responsibilities are shared with others.
Whichever role you play in life, hopefully you recognize the advantages of having co-workers, colleagues, and others to spread the burden of the effort around. Distribution of skills performance is one of the biggest positives of working with a team. Everybody has particular things they do best. It might be cook, the ability to build things, fix things, guard others, garden, train members of the team to do things, or procure supplies, whatever.
A solid, effective team effort is hard to ignore. When teams really work together much can be accomplished. This arrangement could mean survival success when it comes to a team approach to a SHTF response. Just the simple element of having other human contacts can go a long way to achieving a measure of survival satisfaction. Going it alone is simply not fun.
Building a good SHTF is not easy. There are many issues to consider beginning with trust, honesty, compatibility, balance of skills, personality types, supplies and gear brought to the table and such. Creating an effective team is all about cooperation. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians can destroy productivity. Everything must be in a careful balance.
Orchestrating a SHTF team can be a full time job. A leader is definitely needed, but they must have a benevolent heart…up to a point. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made. If you want a good example of such group dynamics, then watch the TV series Falling Skies. In this program you can see how working together achieves much, just as diversity of purpose can be disruptive. It is a very fine line.
Human nature can be a curse. As I often say about people, “Where two or more human beings gather together, somebody is going to bitch about something”! I laugh at this all the time when I hear the complaints that come into my office on a daily basis. Most of my entire day is spent herding cats. Somebody hurt somebody’s feelings or stepped on their toes…..all BS. You’re adults folks so grow up.
Though it is sexist to say so, those of you men in management roles of any kind that have females employees subordinate to you, then you know what I mean. Even the women in my organization realize most of them cannot get along for very long at a time. Just go to an organization function or church luncheon and watch who is watching who! Frankly I cannot recall having ever stared at the suits other men were wearing, though I admit I do check out neckties from time to time. Now ladies no need to be offended, because you know I am right.
Now, to be honest I do see such behavior on the part of men. It usually takes place at the gun range or hunting camp. Even then though, we are focused on the new gun somebody has, a new hunting ATV in camp, or some new pair of boots or whatever. I am the first to be jealous of somebody’s new SHTF weapon until I get one, too.
All that said, to say, if there is one huge downturn in the formation of a SHTF Bug Out Team it is the composite membership of that team. Even if, and that is a big, big if, you screen or get screened, there are going to be moments when folks disagree on most everything the team is doing at one time or another. That is the human nature part.
The trick is working through these issues to build an even stronger team. Ideally a natural leader would emerge, otherwise the team will have to evolve until one surfaces. Somebody has to ultimately be in charge. There is no getting around that and unfortunately a democracy does not always work well when critical decisions need to be made.
If you cannot play well with others, then you have no business trying to initiate a SHTF Team or joining one. It simply must be a cooperative effort with every member contributing to the cause. And don’t go to the table with an empty plate.
Just remember the famous Benjamin Franklin quote, “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.”
Team Member Profiling
If you had to sit down to assemble job titles or individual’s skill sets for an ideal SHTF Team then what would you include. The list might look something like this:
- Hunters, anglers, trappers, campers
- Medical personnel, doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant
- Farmer, gardener, horticulturalist
- Military grunt
- Teacher, child care specialist, senior care person
- Procurement specialist (remember Sgt. Petersen in the movie, Green Beret)
- Mechanic, engines, generators, other equipment
- Cook, food preparation
- Security guard/Police officer
- Many multi-task people, doers, givers, cleaners, set up, fetchers, general help
- Weapons specialist
- Please, no lawyers
I am sure you can think of other “personnel” types you might like to see on an ideal SHTF Team. In many cases some of these skills might be combined within the capabilities of the same person. Many maintenance manufacturing workers these days are cross trained in many task areas. Medical personnel could also have wide ranging skills.
Even within certain specialties there could be multiple task people. If somebody is a weapons guy, then ideally you would want them to be knowledgeable about rifles, assault type firearms, handguns, shotguns, and maybe archery equipment, too. Teachers can know a lot of things about a lot of issues. Use them appropriately to fully contribute to the team.
Sometimes you maybe cannot pick your team members. For example, your grandfather may be living with you. You can’t abandon him during a Bug Out. He might need special care from a health related issue or simply because he may be elderly needing extra assistance. There may be young children in your family or another member’s family. So on and so on. These situations have to be accommodated unless you are a heartless bastard.
So, how do you go about putting a SHTF Team together? As formal as it may sound, you could create a team application, establish a screening committee, conduct formal interviews, and perhaps even have live skills demonstrations. However, I am guessing most teams come together along some lines of common interests or contacts.
My Bug Out group is comprised of the guys and families at our hunting camp. We have quite a few of the skills covered from the list above. A member or two I would rather see go elsewhere, but that is the human nature part I was talking about. None of us are perfect. Ultimately we have to learn to work together; survive together.
If you are limited in your outside contacts and interest groups, then you have to proceed cautiously. You may have a conversation at work, or a meeting or some other venue that might lead you to think a person would open up about prepping. Pursue it, but globally by probing with inquiry questions. “What do you think about the mess this country is in”? kind of stuff.
You may be inclined to defer or beg off certain types of individuals. Maybe you see no value in somebody with a background in retail sales, real estate, an accountant, or used car salesman, etc. Truth is though they may possess serious skills of real value to your Bug Out Team. You just never know so don’t assume anything.
Ask about their hobbies. Maybe they are big time primitive campers or their whole family is fanatical about fishing. Could be they cut their own firewood every year and own all the equipment to do it right. Perhaps you find out they constructed a new room onto their house all by themselves. Maybe they participate in Habitat for Humanity projects.
Suppose they hunt and process their own meat cutting and wrapping every season. You won’t know their backgrounds unless you ask. You might be surprised. Ok then, I’ll let you decide if a guy’s only hobby is golf or tennis.
Creating a Bug Out Team what works well together, really gets along, and actually enjoys each others company is not an easy process. If you decide to go this route, or even joining a team already formed, then examine all the aspects with a critical analysis. If things don’t work out, you can always back up and go another route.