Building Adaptive Leaders
The Army Can Adapt Its Institution (Pt. 1)
by Major Donald E. Vandergriff, Small Wars Journal
Warfare has evolved to the point that the central idea is that small unit leaders in direct contact with the enemy can see and react to situational changes much faster than could the more senior leaders in the rear. This occurs despite the advent of information technology. This technology laid over an Industrial age hierarchal force structure confined with leaders developed through an industrial age personnel system can make it tempting for leaders to micromanage. Thus, the decision cycle slows down. But, warfare now demands something different. Small unit leaders who were once only concerned with choosing which battle drill now make decisions which have strategic implications. The question arises, how can we evolve the current way of developing leaders and Soldiers (Marines as well) that prepares them earlier to be complex problem solvers?
The Army acknowledges the need for change. The Army has begun an evolution in the way we develop-train, educate, access, promote and select-leaders, specifically how do we evolve adaptability. It is now implementing two training and leadership development models. In part I, I will discuss the Adaptive Leader Methodology (ALM) as an approach to develop adaptability and decision making skills. In part II, I will discuss Outcomes Based Training & Education (OBT&E).