This is the Introduction post for our Major Series! Over the next few weeks we will cover a myriad of topics to help the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer. The lessons we learn as MAJs or Lieutenant Commanders generally apply to any rank, but are critical in the grade of O-4 where we transition from direct to organizational leadership. As we have discussed previously, young leaders must start their development along the critical path of leadership to become effective. Click Here to learn more about the Critical Path
As a leader achieves proficiency in each of the five steps, (Standards, Trust, Candor, Purpose, and Communication) what are some of the areas beyond the critical path that leaders need to develop as they transition from direct to organization leadership?
- The ability to ask for help
- The ability to act without emotion
- The ability to Close the Deal
- The ability to listen, gain understanding of the directive, and execute
- The ability to assemble a group and solve problems without supervisory authorities
- The ability to lead younger more inexperienced personnel through the Operations Process
The First post will come out next week so remember to click the blue box to follow PRODev2Go and receive development paragraphs by email.
If you would like us to cover any additional topics in this series please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Part IV of the Mission Command Series on ProDev2Go !!
The topic of mission command as a War Fighting Function (WfF) tends to quickly move towards “things” and away from Leaders. The Flux Capacitor is not going to win the next war; People win Wars. Mission Command as a WfF uses the operations process to enable decisions by the Commander. There are four focus areas that we have found helpful when organizing a unit to conduct distributed mission command in training or combat: First, the Commander must articulate the fight at echelon. The Brigade will identify the enemy’s defeat mechanism, develop a plan to accomplish that end, and synchronize the WfFs to enable the battalions’ mission accomplishment. Second, we must design and articulate the mission command structure in order to put the right people in position (Mobile, Tactical, and Main Command Posts) with clearly identified roles and responsibilities in the Security, Close, and Deep fight. The Brigade’s tactical command post will focus on the close fight led by the Deputy Commander. The TOC, led by the executive officer, will focus on the deep fight and our planning effort. The mobile command group will position itself with the main effort to enable the commander’s situational understanding for decision-making during the battle. Third, Identify the means of communicating information between echelons and between command posts. The common operating picture for the brigade will be JCR. All Systems will feed that medium and units will follow the prescribed procedures…exactly. Finally, we must refine systems to turn said information into understanding that allows the commander to make decisions. The commanders critical information requirements. Leaders that can clearly inculcate these four focus areas within their formations will enable human based mission command with or without the Flux Capacitor
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Part III of the Mission Command Series on ProDev2Go !!
Mission Command techniques differ at echelon based on your subordinates’ experience and capabilities as briefly discussed in Part I and Part II of this series.
Some may believe that a Brigade Commander (~4500 Subordinates) mission commands differently than a Platoon Leader (~40 Subordinates). They both trust junior leaders to execute a series of tasks while exercising disciplined initiative within an understood intent in order to accomplish the desired end state. The Platoon Leader mission commands through four Squad Leaders that have 6-12 years of experience to accomplish the mission. While the Brigade Commander uses seven Battalion Commanders with 20+ years of experience to accomplish his intent. These Leaders use different Mission Command techniques based on their subordinates’ experience and level of responsibility. The tenets of Mission Command however, remain constant at echelon. If the tenets remain constant then what changes as you lead larger and more complex organizations?
Authorities and Disciplined Initiative!
At the platoon level, the weapons Squad Leader assesses the situation when he arrives at the support by fire position. If the terrain prevents his squad from suppressing the enemy, the Squad Leader uses disciplined initiative to adjust the location and meet the understood intent. This is clearly within his authority, as a Squad Leader, under the concept of mission command. To change the assigned task, the Squad Leader needs the approval from his platoon leadership. If a Battalion Commander arrives at his support by fire position and determines the enemy situation changed significantly, he/she has the authority, within the Brigade Commander’s intent, to change his unit’s task to a hasty attack to enable the main effort. The Battalion Commander and the Squad Leader are given authorities commensurate with their position, experience, and available assets. Commanders can change both the Task and Purpose while junior leaders can generally modify only the conditions to accomplish an assigned task. Leaders and Commanders always follow the same principles of Mission Command regardless of position. However, our authorities increase in line with the allowable scope of our initiative.
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PRODEV Podcast on Mission Command
Part I of the Mission Command Series on ProDev2Go !!
The Concept of mission command is simple — If you build mutual trust with your subordinates and provide purpose, key tasks, and end state the mission gets accomplished. Easy right?
How do we train mission command? It is simple in concept, but hard in practice. Mission command challenges leaders at every echelon to achieve the highest level of performance from their organizations. It emphasizes the value of innovation and adaptation. It intends to enhance our ability to accomplish the mission in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment. However, some leaders are hesitant to give examples or techniques to teach the tenents of mission command. They fear it will limit subordinate’s creative thinking or initiative. It is not a contradiction to develop young leaders by providing techniques for mission command. If done correctly, it bridges a leader’s responsibility to establish standards and purpose with a foundation of trust that allows subordinates to take prudent risks within clearly understood parameters. Your subordinates are learning daily from your personal leadership style, form, and function. Your example can also include space for mission command. You can develop an adaptive culture in your units through a focus on Authorities and Accountability. These tools enable success. They teach our young leaders how to set clear left and right limits, by describing an achievable end state for their organization within distinct authorities. Once defined, encourage leaders to apply dynamic solutions in accomplishing their missions. This approach sustains standards and creativity. Leaders also need to value the necessity of holding subordinates accountable without ego or emotion. If subordinates drift outside their limits, you must remove their authorities, retrain them, and then reissue the authority. Standards are not the opposite of mission command; they complement it and remain invaluable to every organization. Focus the development of the next generation of leaders, by encouraging ingenuity within clear expectations of authority and accountability!!!
Podcast on Mission Command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w7ktEnYdJM Podcast on Mission Command