SGM

NCOs – Use ’em or Lose ’em

Welcome to the 19th post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer.

Non-Commissioned Officers serving on staff are often under utilized and their role is commonly  ill-defined or misunderstood.  Your entire career NCOs have made you a better leader, Soldier, and Officer.  Why stop this relationship as a Operations Officer (S-3) or Executive Officer (XO) in a battalion or brigade?  These three tips will enable you and your NCOs to maximize the power of your organization:

  • Establish a staff training program for your NCOs – Do not expect the high speed squad leader to automatically know how to perform as the schools NCO, battle NCO, or tasking manager.  You need to train and certify this leader.  He or she possesses the leadership skills required for the job, but the task is new and briefing skills must be developed.  You must develop a training program or the results are predictable.

 

  • The Operations Sergeant Major leads the staff NCOICs to solve unit problems.  The SGM needs 100% support from you to ensure there is zero friction with the staff primaries.  Enable the OPS SGM by making it clear that she has tasking authority over other staff NCOICs.  If there is a conflict, the NCOs will ensure all tasks are accomplished-  It’s what they do !

 

  • Ensure your NCOs are held accountable and are given the authority that comes with their position.  Nothing worse than a NCO that has become an expert on a topic after weeks of analyzing the issues and developing solutions being pushed aside when it’s time to brief the commander.  If you have a good training program your NCOs will clearly communicate and allow your officers to share the workload rather than taking it over.

 

To maximize the power of your organization as a field grade officer, hold all members of the staff accountable, establish a training program, and enable the OPS SGM. If you can do these things – You will be an effective field grade officer and help develop our future Command Sergeants Major.

 

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How to Empower your Subordinates

Welcome to the 18th post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer. 

The best commanders share command with others and the best Majors share their authority with their subordinates.  You cannot do everything yourself, but sharing your authority is much more than delegating.  Sharing authority allows your direct reports to make decisions, apply resources, and maximize opportunities.  As a Field Grade this will triple the capacity of your organization.  To get started do these three things: Clearly articulate the authorities for your subordinates, ensure FFIR and PIR are understood, and reward those that execute within your parameters.  This will be a learning process for you and your subordinates so maintain an open dialogue to avoid frustration.  If you share your authority you and your team will be more effective.  Use the following questions to help the team stay on track:

Questions to Ask your Team

  • How can I enable you and make your job easier?
  • What information am I not providing you?
  • How do you best receive information?
  • What decisions can be made at your level that I currently withhold?
  • What is the biggest obstacle in your day to day operations?

 

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Rocky

The Most Important Skill for a Major

Welcome to the 17th post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer. 

You Must Learn to Fight

There is much discussion about having a broad range of assignments to develop you into a better leader. While this is important, we cannot ignore the fundamentals of our profession. As a field grade officer you are expected to be an expert in maneuver regardless of branch. You know your weaknesses, write them down and seek help until you are in fact an expert. Start by focusing on the tactical and technical aspects of each Warfighting Function. Work with others to improve your skills using VBS3 or a terrain model with micro armor. Leverage your staff and those above you to find subject matter experts. Good leaders understand their weaknesses. Great leaders understand and correct their shortcomings. Broadening is important, but not at the expense of our priority mission, to fight and win our nation’s wars. Our service members deserve a field grade officer that understands the art and science of warfare. Make sure that you are that MAJ and we will collectively be successful.

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WS

Science is not Weird – It’s your Job Major

Welcome to the sixteenth post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer. 

Here is a secret that nobody tells you when you make Major-  You’re now  a Scientist.

The Commander leads the operation process, (Plan, Prepare, Execute– Through  Visualization, Description, and Direction) but you as a field grade must provide the tools and data necessary for the commander to make decisions. While all of our Warfighting Functions (WfF) are important, we encourage you to start with these four WfFs to enable the Art of Command through battlefield science:  Intelligence, Fires , Mission Command, and Sustainment.  The science of intelligence is critical to collection, understanding, and decision making.  Inspect or verify all INTEL efforts to ensure your PIRs will be answered.  Don’t sleep until you are sure.     Next, dig into the science of fires.  Observers, airspace, gun target lines, 1/3 –2/3, radars, ground clearance, digital networks, and ammunition management.  You must ensure these are straight for both artillery (Lightning) and mortars (Thunder).  Use Tactical and technical rehearsals to prove common understanding.  Inspect your mission command network after fires.  Ensure upper and lower TI networks are stable and verify a PACE plan for all systems.  You must ensure a trusted human visits each RETRANS location to ensure success.  Finally,  focus on the science of sustainment.  When will you need ammunition, medical care, fuel, and maintenance?  Focus on the timing of sustainment during the battle and during the  unit’s transitions to ensure success.

If you as a Major can focus on the science of Intelligence, Fires , Mission Command, and Sustainment you and your unit will be successful.  Success in these areas will enable movement and maneuver, protection and engagement– We guarantee it !

 

 

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terry Bradshaw

Hey Major — Move the Ball Down Field

Welcome to the Fifteenth post in the Major Series.  This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer.

We are huge fans of Terry Bradshaw #12 and the Steelers.  As a Field Grade you are the Quarterback and must score touchdowns for the team to win.  The only way to win is to get the ball down the field and across the goal line.

Lateral Movement is in fact movement. However, there is no progress made for you or your organization by moving side to side.  You must push, claw, and scrape forward even in the face of adversity and resistance.  Far too many S3s and XOs spend their day organizing email and attending pointless meetings.  Here is a tip to ensure you are moving forward every single day – Focus the majority of your efforts on Planning and Resourcing.  Frankly, everything else in your field grade life is secondary to those two things.  You must plan for the organization and publish synchronizing documents (WARNOs, OPORDs, and FRAGOs).  These documents keep the trains on time and add predictability for your organization.  As discussed previously, you must follow the 9:6:4:13 Rule when planning and publishing orders.  Resourcing is equally important.  Ammunition and land are easy, there are systems in place that enable your success.  How are you ensuring the required TADDS and other resources required for training are being sourced?  Use anti freeze or CLP as your resourcing litmus test.  When you are projecting how much anti-freeze you will go through during a training event you likely have it about right.  As a field grade if you are not planning and resourcing  the ball is only being moved laterally and your unit is suffering.  You are hurting Soldiers by ignoring these two critical areas.

Bottom Line- If you can plan and resource you will be an effective Field Grade Officer.

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entitlement

READ this to Understand your DoD ENTITLEMENTS

Welcome to the fourteenth post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer. 

                So now you’re a Major.  The big O-4 !  Time to get ready for the perks to start flowing.    IBM and Apple wouldn’t ignore your contributions, and neither should the Government- Right?  After all,  DoD owes you for College and 10 years of service.  It is time to “Thank Us” for our service!  So here is the secret that nobody lets you know- You are entitled to nothing and your Subordinates are entitled to everythingThe minute you feel entitled, we offer two choices: 1) Change your attitude 2) Find another profession.  What?   That is harsh!     Not really, our nation deserves leaders that are more concerned about their subordinates and organizations than themselves.  If you feel entitled, which is common, reflect on the parents that allow our subordinates to serve.  Those families entrust us to care for their sons and daughters.  This is a no fail mission.  Would you want your son or daughter serving for an entitled leader?  No! Here at ProDev2Go, we believe that entitlement is counter to the good order of our organizations.  Focus on others more than yourself and you will become an effective Field Grade Officer! 

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gene

Training the Replacements

Welcome to the thirteenth post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer. 

Just like when you were a company commander your subordinates are going to depart the organization right about the time things are running well.  Your job as a field grade officer is to bring the replacement NCOs and Officers on the team in a manner that enables the continued success of the organization.  These three techniques will help you manage the transition :

  • Remember that no seven year old ever said, “When I grow up, I want to be on staff”
  • You know 100x more about what is going on than your new team members- Don’t Assume Knowledge
  • Use the 3:1 rule

Serving on staff– Your new NCOs and Officers want to be on the line with Soldiers, not on staff.  Address this fact during initial counseling.  Tell them the length of time they will be on staff to manage their expectations.  Encourage them to remind you during quarterly counseling of their departure date and be willing to discuss their next job openly.          Don’t Assume Knowledge-  You must get confirmation and backbriefs from your team to avoid disaster.  You may not know it, but you are light years ahead of your new team members.  Your understanding of the hot issues, recent lessons learned, and the calendar can overwhelm them.  If you assume knowledge- A glass ball is going to hit the floor.  Be  a deliberate and patient leader to ensure success.  3:1 Ratio during transitions- Senior staff members do the workload of three leaders.  They start with a normal workload and over time their responsibilities increase.  This is possible because they are comfortable in their surroundings, understand systems, and are very efficient.  Your new staff members cannot handle the same work load on day one.  Use three team members to replace one.  Assign the new leader only the primary tasks conducted by the departing individual.  The remaining tasks should be spread out across two other teammates until the new leader is efficient and capable.  Then add tasks slowly until the transition is complete.  The 3:1 rule allows the organization to continue to move forward during transition while allowing your replacements to grow into the job.

If you follow these three tips you will lead your organization through transition successfully and develop your subordinate leaders.

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Angry Iron Majors (A.I.M.)

Welcome to the twelfth post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade To Field Grade Officer. 

 

Fact–Many Majors become disgruntled, jaded, bitter, and angry.  These feelings generally stem from two seeds: perspective and workload.  Major’s perspective are generally based on a new and unfiltered view of Division, Brigade, and Battalion operations which reveals many imperfections.   Majors also are under a tremendous amount of stress from the enormity of their work load.  This new environment lends itself to a fact of life- negativity is contagious for those with weak minds.  You will find yourself in the middle of an AIM conversations as a Major.  Here is some simple advice-  Avoid It!  You really have three choices as a professional when frustrated:  1) Fix the issue that is frustrating you.  2) Recommend to your higher a way to correct the issue. 3) Vote with your feet.  If the issue is within your purview then get after it and fix the problem. If not, tell a trusted leader whom you respect about the issue so it can get resolved above your level.  Finally, if you cannot get past your frustration and the negativity go find a profession that makes you happy.  Life is too short and the Army needs positive leaders.  Bottom Line–Don’t become a member of the Angry Iron Major Club (A.I.M.) you have better choices.

 

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Cooperation Without Coordination

 ML_Banner_Inset4This guest post is by Drew Steadman who created  The Military Leader.  His site is designed to provide leaders of all professions with resources and insight they can use to develop themselves and their organizations.

 

Ever had an important life lesson strike you in the midst of a trivial activity? Well, it happened to me not long ago and the lesson, a stroke of organizational leadership insight, came from an unexpected source.

I was halfway through loading the dishwasher when my mother-in-law walked in with dirty dishes to add. Wanting to be helpful, she placed the dishes in the first set of slots she saw but they weren’t the slots that I, master of dishwasher operations, had in mind. I thanked her for helping and then moved the dishes to their rightful position.

That’s when the lesson happened. She walked back to the living room and said to my wife with a chuckle, “I tried to help Drew, but I put the dishes in the wrong place. I was cooperating without coordinating.” I was cooperating without coordinating. Wow. Pause for a moment, think about the effort your team puts forth every day, and apply that phrase.

How often do we suffer from inefficiency because we don’t align with the teams and people around us?

Our people try to do the right thing, they really do. They come up with good ideas and have the best intentions. They cooperate with the commander, the mission, the vision, and adjacent teams very well. But many units suffer because that effort isn’t coordinated to achieve maximum effects.

For example, company commanders each have an open door with the battalion commander to address issues. In doing so they cooperate to achieve the goal of taking care of Soldiers and making their units ready. But, if they coordinate what they plan to bring the boss, they would 1) discover problems common to all of them, 2) share solutions for those problems, 3) present a unified front to the commander, and 4) minimize the drain on the commander’s time and attention.

Or consider a tactical example. After several days in the field, it’s time for a Stryker company to validate its training in a synchronized operation. Its platoons are distributed across the training area and will rely on the digital connectivity of the Stryker vehicle for success. Unfortunately, the Battalion S6 chose the same day to conduct required maintenance on the battalion’s BFT/JCR, taking the battalion systems offline. Each entity is doing the right thing for their mission but failed to align their efforts with the whole team. Cooperation without coordination.

Leaders are responsible for synchronizing their teams while individuals are obliged to consider how their actions impact the teams around them.

Here are several questions to consider before pulling the trigger on your next action:

  • How big is my sphere of influence?
  • How will my planned actions affect those around me?
  • What entities rely on my capability to achieve their mission?
  • What entities rely on me staying out of their way to achieve their mission?
  • Am I drifting into an area where other people/unit’s authority is established and functioning? How must I adjust to that authority?
  • Am I so dedicated to my own good idea that I’m not considering how it impacts the bigger picture?

The answers may show that you’re about to put your dirty dishes in the wrong spot

 

Drew Steadman is the creator of The Military Leader, co-founder of the Military Writers Guild, and is grateful to his mother-in-law, Patricia, for her powerful lesson in leadership.

 

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Protractor

Green Power on the modern day Battlefield

Welcome to the eleventh post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade To Field Grade Officer. 

 

The majority of your peers will focus the 100% of their mission command training on our “competitive advantage”.  This is our newest technology, latest system upgrades, digital dominance, and GPS Powered gadgets.  What happens when the enemy removes this advantage or we lose capability due to our actions?  All of our WIN-T and ABCS systems are important to our Mission Command capabilities.  However, we have P.A.C.E. for a reason.  The smart money is on GREEN mission command training in addition to the digital master gunner emphasis. Train analog planning, common operating picture, and reporting to become proficient.

rolette green

 

It starts with your planning during MDMP.  Hard Copy maps and Acetate  allow you to stack overlays and truly synchronize War fighting Functions.  Once complete, then transfer your plan to the ABCS systems. Next develop a system that maintains your analog COP in real time.  This could be printing screen captures every 15 minutes or moving icons on the map.  Whatever you select there should be no more than a five minute delay when (Not If) you lose digital connectivity.  Lastly, enforce proper reporting at echelon.  The first words you should here across the radio or chat is front line trace and slant.  This builds muscle memory and enables analog fires and mission command.  Green Systems are not fancy, but they must be developed, rehearsed, and enable our force to continue the fight when we or our enemies remove our perceived “competitive advantage”.  If you can teach your Battalion and Brigade to fight analog you will become an effective field grade office.

 

Remember to click the Blue Box to Follow ProDev2Go and receive these posts directly in your email inbox.  If interested in doing a guest post of your own contact us at prodev2go@gmail.com.

 

 

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