What is Progressive Group Task at SSB?
The Progressive Group Task (PGT) is the first outdoor task in the Basic Series of Group Tasks at SSB. It consists of four obstacles which are designed in increasing order of difficulty, meaning the first task being comparatively easier than the last one. The last obstacle out of the four in a set of PGT requires a fairly high amount of functional ability on the part of the aspirants. It also presents a fair amount of difficulty and some degree of frustration for the candidates. All candidates will be given roughly 40-45 minutes to complete one set of Progressive Group Task at SSB. The group will be given some helping materials such as a wooden plank, a pole, a rope and/or and will have to carry a heavy object known as LOAD with them at all times during the Progressive Group Task at SSB.
What all candidates need to understand about Progressive Group Task at SSB is that it is designed to enable the group to evolve as a team and achieve the laid down goal effectively. The four obstacles provide opportunities for the group to go through the four phases of Team Building spontaneously. So the wide entry of the first task enables the ICE-BREAKING for everyone and helps them to feel part of the group. As the task progresses, the members, storm their ideas on to one another and end up performing in their own way to complete the task.
How is Progressive Group Task at SSB conducted ?
The GTO takes the group away from the task first and explains what the task is, why it is called progressive group task what are the various rules the group is supposed to follow while performing the task. Then s/he takes them to the task and shows them the various structures in the task and explains special features, if any. After this the GTO answers the doubts of the candidates and then takes them back to the start point that is the first obstacle and makes them wait there with their backs turned towards the task. S/he tells them about the total time allotted to them to complete the task and then starts them off. From this point onwards, GTO acts as an observer and interferes with the group only when s/he feels it necessary to bring the group back on track/ when any mishaps/ fights break out in the group. The group is otherwise left on its own to find their way about solving the obstacles.
What are the rules to follow while performing at Progressive Group Task at SSB?
The SSB aspirants need to observe the following rules diligently while performing at Progressive Group Task at SSB as the GTO keenly observes and notes how many times each member of the group or at times, the whole group breaks the rules:
- the GROUP rule: All the members of the group have to participate in the successful completion of the task. They must complete the task together with all the helping material as well as the load.
- the COLOUR rule: There are three colours used to clearly define structures made on the ground which can be used or not, for standing or keeping of material on them while the task is being performed. These colours are: RED, BLUE/YELLOW and WHITE. While RED colour defines all things OUT of BOUNDS (not permitted/ restricted) for both Members as well as helping material or load. That means, whatever is painted RED, can’t be used anyhow. All that is painted in BLUE/ YELLOW can be used to stand, but NO helping material or LOAD can be kept on it. And, lastly, all that is painted WHITE can be used for standing as well as for resting the Helping material or LOAD.
- the DISTANCE rule: Any distance of 04 feet or more, vertically, horizontally and diagonally can not be walked over and covered. Instead it has to be bridged across with the help of bridges made out of the helping material. A candidate can not jump across and cover such a distance.
- rule of INFINITY: The start line and the finish line are considered to be parallel, and hence, a candidate can not just walk across the left/ right side ends of the start or finish lines in order to complete the tasks.
- rule of RIGIDITY: Candidates can not bound any two rigid helping materials such as a pole and a plank in order to cover the distance. The rope and the plank can be used together, the pole and the rope can be used together, but not the pole and the plank or the other rigid helping materials.
These rules are made to enable the group to perform the tasks easily at the same time to enhance the level of difficulty for the task. Breaking the rules or undermining their relevance will lead to penalty. The GTO will penalise the group by asking them to restart from the spot they were before the error was committed or in rare cases from the very beginning, in case the group keeps on breaking these rules. Hence it is important to know, understand and follow these rules carefully.
What is the rationale behind the design of Progressive Group Task at SSB?
Although it seems that some expertise is required to solve these PGTs, it is not so. All the sets of PGTs are designed in such a manner that no special expertise is required to solve these. Similarly, the level of difficulty increases gradually, from the first to the last obstacle. Each obstacle provides with minimum three workable solutions. And, last but not the least, every task provides an opportunity to each candidate to show his/her functional ability in some or the other way. This ability is tested through 02 things, namely:
- Continuous Progressivity of tasks which demands cooperation from all members of the group for successful problem solving, and
- Narrow and wide entry to the tasks which encourage the more skilled members while frustrate the less capable ones
In a PGT, there is no leader assigned or there are no specific roles assigned to the candidates, but as the tasks progress one can easily see the members of the group accepting and performing specific roles in the group. According to their own degree of functional ability, some aspirants become the initiators of ideas, while some others accept the role of followers/ mute spectators. This enables the GTO to look beyond the facade of some aspirants who have been coached prior and equips him/her to see the real nature of personality traits of all the group members minutely and distinctly.
What does the GTO observe during Progressive Group Task at SSB?
As discussed earlier, the GTO observes all the 15 Officer-like Qualities/ behavioural traits (OLQs) with special reference to:
- Functional Group Effectiveness
- Planning and Organising skills in a group
- Group Cohesiveness
- Stability within the group
In a Progressive Group Task at SSB, the group evolves as one whole entity, as it is confronted with a problem which can be solved only as a group. Until now, those aspirants who exceled in verbal communication or planning and organising are now put to further test as PGT requires more of functional ability, similarly, those aspirants who could not take the initiative due to less knowledge of current affairs or poor verbal skills now get an opportunity to show their hands-on skills, such as handling of rope, load and /or being able to take risk together. The time constraint and feeling of relaxed atmosphere in the outdoors, acts as a catalyst for those who had not spoken till now and allows them to be able to perform and contribute to the group effort spontaneously.
Know more about other group tasks at SSB in my next blog.