Use Mission Orders – a tenant of Mission Command that we exercise almost daily. But, in garrison, we have become overly reliant on Microsoft Office to present our Operations Orders. The Maneuver Captains Career Course (MCCC) and the ARSOF CCC thrust you back into the analog world for developing and briefing your tactical orders. For those of us practiced in creating orders on Word or PowerPoint, this is a rude awakening. You pour over document protectors, overlays, 1:50000 maps, and map markers strewn across your desk as you try to remember how you ever did this without a keyboard and mouse. Having a system and a good briefing board will pay dividends not only in the schoolhouse, but also when you get back to the tactical force. Here is one way to make a great Briefing Board that remains applicable when you get to your unit.
In every competitive environment, organizations evolve to survive and thrive. Society, Markets, and Warfare are ever-changing and so must those who want to succeed in them. Changing systems is a fight in and of itself. But, what if the change required is deeper than spreadsheets and efficiency reports? What if the organization’s values and behaviors aren’t aligned? I used the word “fight” intentionally. Make no mistake, when change is values-based, you are fighting for the heart and soul of your organization. To create a values-centered change, leaders steer the individual to driving the organization, communicate a clear and collective vision, model and steward the change, and empower their team.
Changing Values Requires Clear and Shared Vision
Change is scary; organizations and people are naturally resistant to change. We defer to the sedentary status quo over the risk of growth. Last week, in Part I of our Leading Change Series, we discussed Kurt Lewin’s three steps for organizational change. (If you haven’t read Part I, it is available HERE) Organizations are living, breathing organisms that are comprised of people. A mechanical mindset, fixing a problem by simply uninstalling a piece and reinstalling an updated mechanism, won’t maximize growth. You can’t sustain an effective organization this way, because people are not widgets. Teams pose an agricultural paradigm, not a mechanical one.
Changes of Command often bring a new look to the organization.
Leaders and formations in the Army are always changing. With this change in people, comes a new look at the organization. It brings reinvention, breeding adaptability and innovation. Change is healthy, important, and necessary – but leading change also requires art. Dissatisfaction, contempt, and failure, are usually the drivers of change. But, that doesn’t mean everyone in the organization will view circumstances through that same lens. Change is disequilibrium caused by disconfirming information. Kurt Lewin’s Change Theory and John Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model, provide leaders a lens through which to view and understand what it takes to successfully lead change.
Maintaining the status quo is comfortable. Leading change requires getting down “in the mud” – are you up for the task?
Your reputation is the convergence of your words, actions, character, competence, and the perception of others. As you progress up the leadership chain, your team will grow and the perception of you will no longer be a direct result of your interactions and behaviors alone. Your team will play an increased role in how people perceive you. The larger your organization, the more you have to delegate authority. With that delegation, you empower your team to represent you and your organization.
King John III Sobieski after the Battle of Vienne
Perception matters and the perspective of the Soldiers you lead provides insight. How are you being perceived? How do you know what they need from a Company Commander? Who is experienced enough to lend legitimacy to the enlisted perspective? Enter, the Noncommissioned Officer. Every young lieutenant can remember the Noncommissioned Officers who significantly impacted his or her career. When I arrived to my first unit, one week before deployment, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. The leadership and perspective of my NCOs informed my leadership. One NCO in particular gave me even more than I could have expected.
The 8th Army Command Sergeant Major addresses Soldiers at Yongson Garrison, Republic of Korea.