ATLC #02 – The Pipeline


During the Viet Nam era the Australian army established Scheyville OTU–the Officer Training Unit–for national service (draftee) officers.

It cost the Australian Government millions of dollars to train these men (regrettably women weren’t invited then) as officer cadets and to put them through the country’s top leadership program for 22 weeks.

Leadership Lecture Number One at Scheyville was on my very first night and it was held in the theatre for the combined classes of intake 3 of 67 of a total of 123 new officer cadets.

This inaugral leadership lecture at the Officer Training Unit (OTU) was given by one of the most impressive Australian soldiers I was ever to meet in my two-years as a national service soldier and Vietnam veteran. He was subsequently to become the most important leadership mentor in all the 45 years of my military and professional career, although I hardly realized it at the time.

This was Colonel Ian Geddes, the ‘Father of Scheyville’. He was the founder and Commandant of the Officer Training Unit for national servicemen and others during the Vietnam War. Geddes was not only a distinguished officer and a gentleman but also an educator par excellance. His distinguished career as a leadership educator in the ADF earned him the position of Chief of Staff of the Army’s Training Command by the time he retired in 1976. The first thing Geddes told us was that we were special, maybe in the top 1% of all army recruits. Then he explained his first lesson about leadership that I’ve come to call ‘The Geddes Pipeline’.

The Geddes Pipeline

The Geddes Pipeline is a fundamental lesson about commitment: about making a promise and then keeping that promise even (especially) when you no longer want to do so.

He said I would be entering a pipeline of specialised leadership training that had cost the Australian taxpayer a big investment of many millions of dollars. The Colonel explained that the personal benefits of this leadership training were something that I could only evaluate after the fact, after at least a month and not before. So, if I choose to enter the pipeline I couldn’t leave before the 30-day pipeline was over. After then I could ask to leave at any time.

This leadership training idea is one of the cleverest in any kind of training program I’ve ever encountered and today we still use the 30-day Geddes Pipeline in the School of Thinking’s postgraduate leadership training.

In the case of Scheyville, although voluntary, it was a pretty tough course (like the Richard Gere movie Officer and Gentleman) and it came as a big shock to most of us, so that’s why they established a 30-day pipeline.

In other words, once we started we gave our word that we would not resign or give up under any circumstances until after the first 30-days. No matter how much we hated it, or how much we wanted to get out. Once we entered the pipeline we had to keep going for 30 days!

1967 201a Entrance

Well, I can tell you that it was a good idea because after just the first 24 hours I would say that 90% of us would have left if we hadn’t given our word for the Pipeline. Interestingly enough, 30 days later, none of us wanted to leave at all!

Now, today in 2017, there is nothing in ATLC training that is so difficult or scary that you are likely to want to resign. However, The Pipeline is an important leadership training concept that has been very useful to me in my life to get me through to worthwhile objectives that may have a difficult or even tedious beginning. Or simply required persistence. I hope you won’t find ATLC training tedious but I do want you to enter a 30 day Pipeline.

This ATLC Pipeline will be at the rate of 5 DFQs a week for 4 weeks.

Here’s the deal …

You can opt/out now if you wish. Or, for you to continue past today, you give your word to commit to your training for 30 days. Fair enough?

DFQ #02: (now post your comment)

1. Name one benefit you can think of getting as a result of entering our 30-day pipeline.

2. Choose and post one of these: I WILL ENTER or I WILL NOT ENTER.

560 thoughts on “ATLC #02 – The Pipeline

  1. Reinforce the purpose by which I began the course I WILL ENTER

    Do or do not, there is no try – Master Yoda

  2. Discipline is crucial in all aspects of life and requires constant learning and new ideas. This what I want to get out of this course so I have entered.

  3. I will enter
    As I want to improve , be better and use my abilities to the fullest . I know this course will provide me the tools and the mindset to use all the tools for constant growth.

  4. With the benefit of joining ATLC ,I will be able to get a different view of my actions than I currently have…
    It is clear to me to decide that I will enter.

  5. One benefit is really to place something beyond the reach of thre contextual circumstances. In a world where people constantly assess whether they should pursue with a current line of action, the pipeline places it beyond. One is required to give his or her complete trust in a sytem – in a training and learning system. The evaluation of that system would come afterwards and not before.

    I will enter.

  6. To set a goal. To perserve at achieving the goal. To set a deadline to make the decision as to whether to continue the effort to achieve the goal.

    I will enter

  7. Excellence is a habit of doing things in a certain way day in and day out. My commitment is in making the decision that I am going to conduct myself in a certain way from this point forward. The next step is actually doing the thing that I am committed to. This will establish a habit of doing things in in a certain way. Habits produce results. If I like the results I will do more of the habit. If I don’t like the results I will change the habit and notice the results. SDNT.
    Therefore I enter into this commitment.


    Gain a different perspective on leadership and take on new learnings to empower team members to be motivated to think and execute relevant and effective programs.

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