ATLC #12 – Peel the Orange!

In the first week we looked at The Pipeline as a leadership concept derived from the military. Now, we’ll look at a second one called Peel the Orange!


Over the many thousands of years of military history military scientists have developed and evolved what is considered the world’s most advanced techniques for training human beings. Why is this so?

I believe the answer is due to “the bottom line”. In my own career I have been exposed to training in four areas of performance and I would rate them as follows in order of effectiveness:

1. Military
2. Sport/Arts
3. Business
4. Education

I think this is due to the imperatives of the various bottom lines.

In education the bottom line is: to pass the exam. The quality of training I received to this end was erratic. Most of my own educational training was largely boring with occasional exceptions. There was very little inspiration of the “Dead Poet Society” type and even less emphasis placed on PRR (Practise, Repetition & Rehearsal).

In business, I have found much greater emphasis on the inspirational and motivational type of training and the quality, overall, is higher than at school. Perhaps this is due to the business bottom line which is: to survive and make a profit. There is often a big investment in time and money at stake in an environment which is competitive, so the standard of training is higher than at school. I wondered whether to put business ahead of sports and the arts but I did not because business training still is weak in the area of PRR (Practise, Repetition & Rehearsal).

As just noted, sports and arts is next because of the high emphasis on PRR. Here the bottom line is: to win in sport, and: to perform well in front of an audience in the arts. The competition and the audience are strong bottom lines which produce high levels of excellence in training by experienced coaches and the great masters. There is also often a lot of money at stake.

But in the military passing exams, making money, beating the competitor and audience applause play relatively minor roles to the ultimate bottom line: life or death! It’s no surprise therefore that the quality of military training is so high. True, governments have much larger budgets for training than the others mentioned above and this is an advantage.

The most entertaining, shocking, interactive and successful training I ever received by the most competent and well-rehearsed instructors was in the military. The lectures, the drills, the exercises, the operations were always laced with large amounts of PRR and invariable were better-planned and better-executed than anything I have seen before or since.

My passion has always been to liberate these training methods from the military fort or garrison and make them available to business and other careers. The same military training processes that are applied to martial arts can also be applied to career and business arts and so that is what we will be doing in this ATLC training.

If you take ten people at random and you give them an orange and then you say to them: Peel the orange! guess what you end up with?

Well, if you are lucky you MAY end up with one peeled orange! What you are more likely to get instead is the following:

– Why me?
– Why do I have to peel the orange?
– Why can’t I cut it instead of peeling it?
– What about an apple, I’d rather peel an apple?
– I don’t know how.
– I never peeled an orange before.
– You do it.
– Get someone else to do it.
– I’ll do it later when I have time.
– I don’t have a knife, can you get me a knife?
– How do I peel it? Where do I start?
– Do you want all the orange peeled or only half?
– Shall I peel it this way or that way?
etc etc

An important leadership skill is being able ‘to peel oranges’ on command. Being able to effectively and efficiently carry out an instruction without any fuss or bother is an important leadership skill. It requires discipline, skill, initiative, motivation, self-confidence, risk-taking, achievement, energy and a host of leadership qualities.

In the military, before an NCO or officer is given the right to give orders, they must first undergo a lot of training to make sure they have an advanced level of skill in carrying out orders from others. To give and take is part of the same concept.


There are, of course, the obvious qualifications. The orders or instructions to be followed must be legal, competent and possible to carry out. In the professional military, very few are not.

Needlesstosay, in ATLC any and all instructions for you to follow will be transparent, legal and possible to do.

You have to decide up front before the pipeline whether or not you feel they will be competent.

Once you enter the pipeline then all you have to do is to ‘peel the oranges’!


DFQ #12:
List three benefits below that are likely to come from acquiring this leadership skill called Peel the Orange!

1. A benefit for me (the trainee) is …
2. A benefit for you (the trainer) is …
2. A benefit for the class (the others) is …

341 thoughts on “ATLC #12 – Peel the Orange!

  1. 1. A benefit for me (the trainee) is clarity, I’d know what to do, what is expected of me.
    2. A benefit for you (the trainer) is knowing that the order will be carried out within the right timeframe and quality.
    2. A benefit for the class (the others) is each of us knows what we need to do in relation to the bigger picture.

  2. 1. A benefit for me (the trainee) is that I by following the instruction i am building on my leadership skill , risk taking ability , self-confidence and also trust !
    2. A benefit for you (the trainer) is that I would know what my instruction will instill ( besides the result of peeled orange !)
    2. A benefit for the class (the others) is we learn from each others experience when being led and being a leader.

  3. # I can be a leader if I am quite willing and able to be a good follower.

    #Based on the feedback will be received from the trainees, the trainer can modify effectively his messages which contain the instructions .

    #From the messages received, the others can create different views on what will be going on. They can learn and look sideways at things.

  4. 1. A benefit for me (the trainee) is that I do not have to think. I can direct all my energies to doing what is ordered and to do it well.

    2. A benefit for you (the trainer) is that I can expect that my instructions are followed to the letter.

    2. A benefit for the class (the others) is that it will build cohesion and solidarity.

  5. 1. A benefit for me (the trainee) is: I will be teachable. I receive a lesson and do my best to complete the lesson as instructed.
    2. A benefit for you (the trainer) is: I will be motivated to give better quality instructions as I know that these will be carried as instructed without fuss or argument.
    3. A benefit for the class (the others) is: Everyone knows what is expected of them there is no confusion.

  6. A benefit for me (the trainee) is that I will get into the habit of seeing tasks out to completion in the most efficient way I can find
    A benefit for you (the trainer) is that you can rely on the task being completed
    A benefit for the class (the others) is that they know if they all do the same any group task is most likely to be performed to competition

  7. The benefit for me – I can acquire a skill as the instructor intended

    The benefit for you – you can test if the instructions drive the correct outcomes for the student

    The benefit for the class – the class can progress as a team, seeing how others interpret the instructions and learning from each other

  8. I learn how to peel orange…do
    im communicating well…think
    we respect each other to do things for each other…..think,do and learn

  9. learn to follow direction. develop trust

    for the trainer, a benefit would be that they can find a person that can be trusted to carry out the task at hand efficiently.

    a team could see that any task could be carried out without much fuss. can trust each other to carry out there part. develop and trust each others abilities.

  10. 1. A benefit for me is being able to take a direction and run with it.
    2. A benefit for you is being able to do things other ways.
    3. A benefit for the class is to be able to work as I team and open their minds.

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