I just spent the last four weeks at various locations presenting my “Deciding Under Pressure and Fast” workshop on how to teach adaptability and create learning organizations. A common question, a subtle point of resistance, is always “We agree with what you are putting us through. It is better than what we do now, but we don’t have the instructors to do what you teach. Can you help, tell, us how to certify instructors?”
You get what you get.
First of all, anyone who wants a great team, be it a unit, course or non-military organization wants great people. Successful firms go out of their way to recruit the right people. But, the military personnel system, while trying somewhat to fit round pegs into round holes, usually gives you what they can, particularly today under the conditions of constant deployments.
Today’s personnel system operates on out of date assumptions established in the Industrial Age, guided by such laws as the up or out promotion system created prior to World War II and institutionalized right after World War II. It is also based on assumptions used in the Progressive era and the rise of trade unions to manage people, all pointing to the theories of the great industrial management guru Frederick Taylor (foundation for Henry Ford’s assembly line).
So, courses everywhere find that they have an instructor pool that has varying talents, ranging from very good to poor–some of their instructors are task oriented, some are people oriented, some are innovators, but most are bound by their own experiences with “that is how we did things.”
And now, you want to complicate things by adding a better way to impart learning on your students and get away from the turn key methods you have been using?
Whenever I teach, present and run one of my workshops, the people I talk to by large say “We get what you are saying, and we believe it is better.” But then there is the excuse, “I don’t have the instructors that it takes to do your adaptive leader stuff you talk about.” (this quote came from a serving Army officer, a commander).
When Lieutenant Colonel Allen Gill, the former Professional of Military Science (the boss) and I were at Georgetown Army ROTC, did we get to handpick the cadre the Army gave us?
Al recently asked me about how my workshops were going, and I told him about the common thread of the excuse mentioned above. He immediately told me “do they think I got to handpick my instructors? No I did not.”
So, what do all you aspiring leaders do out there to get the right instructors that can teach in an ALM inspired course?
Recently at my workshop, a Command Sergeant Major provided the answer, “it is our responsibility to develop our leaders [instructors], we have come to rely too much on TRADOC and the school system to do this.” The same goes for courses, they must certify their instructors in how to use the methods outlined in the Adaptive Leader Methodology (ALM), and for all it is worth, non-military organizations must also develop internal courses to develop their leadership because ALM is also very compatible with the business world as well (at least according to several business and leadership professors I know).
These courses must consist of more than doing dumbing down material that prepares its students to “cover your ass” with a coverage of regulations, policies, etc…as well as how to look good on the platform, how to use power point, how to prepare a visitors book. The focus of all the certification course I have reviewed is on how to prepare a teacher to instruct using the competency model (think of leave no child behind or training to take the test). Surprisingly, very little time is spent on “how to teach” using emerging innovative approaches and tools.
ALM is all about techniques, how to teach and what tools to employ at the appriopriate time to develop adaptability in your students, Soldiers or employees. It is about how to challenge students to seek more answers. ALM is about encouraging life long learning. These are covered in detail in my book Raising the Bar: Developing and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War, so I will not go into detail here.
The answer to this question is you can figure it out (because the material is available to provide examples). You take the initiative to develop an internal instructor course to make your entire cadre (or leaders) better.
Contact me and I can help.
Next, what makes a good teacher?