Posts Tagged ‘How to teach’

A couple of weeks ago Lieutenant Fred Leland of the Walpole Police Department posted his summary of my Deciding Under Pressure and Fast workshop I conducted at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York on August 7, 2008. I just returned home from four successful weeks of doing a total of six Deciding Under Pressure and Fast workshops at four different Army posts, which focuses on how to teach in the Adaptive Leader Methodology (ALM). I also do curriculum review workshops on implementing ALM into a program. I did a few of these as well over the last four weeks.

I am very grateful to Major Chad Foster, director of Military Science 300 (juniors) for giving me permission to post this on my blog. The following is his After Action Review he received from the 15 instructors who took the course:

Overall Assessment: The ALM workshop that you executed for us was instrumental in getting our new instructors to “buy-in” to the new teaching methodology that we are utilizing in our new MS300 course. It uilt on a lot of things that I had been saying to them previously, but it went farther in communicating the spirit and intent of ALM than anything else that we did as part of our new instructor integration and training.

  • The use of your simple decision-making games (whether of a tactical variety or not) demonstrated that TDGs are simple but incredibly effective tools that instructors can use to teach concepts to cadets. At first, some of the new instructors were worried due to their inexperience with certain types of tactical operations (not everyone is a “trigger-puller” by trade). These simple games showed them that you don’t have to have spent your entire career behind a machine gun or on a tank to teach in this manner.
  • Two of the tactical decision-making games (TDGs) that you had the new instructors design as part of your workshop have been used in the classroom already in MS300. This shows that not only did the new instructors gain a full understanding of the concept of ALM, but our course gained actual course material from the workshop.
  • I had multiple instructors say “Wow, I really get what we are trying to do now” after the workshop. The level of enthusiasm for the course really shot off the proverbial chart in the subsequent days. This led to the new instructors actually building multiple TDGs for the course, helping out the course directors immensely.
  • By my own participation in the workshop, I was better able to conduct training and orientation with my “veteran” instructors who missed the workshop. I executed a “poor man’s version” of your ALM workshop with my old guys with great results. I was concerned initially that I would not have the time to get everyone squared away prior to the first day of classes, but this turned out not to be the case. In a matter of a few hours, I had everyone on the same page regarding how we were going to implement ALM in MS300. That would not have been possible without your workshop.
  • The participation of Mr. Leland from the Walpole Police Department was of great value. He brought a different but highly relevant perspective to the discussions. His ideas and input during the workshop were outstanding, and I think that my new instructors (and I) gained a lot from the experience.
  • The participation of the Sienna University ROTC PMS was also great in terms of building a strong relationship with a fellow officer who is in the business of building strong future LTs. He and I have corresponded often since, sharing ideas and material. In fact, he is bringing his MS3 instructors up to West Point to observe some of our classes next month AND we are planning a joint field exercise with some of his cadets and our cadets in the tactics clubs.

Bottom-Line: The ALM Workshop was a fantastic experience that I am going to recommend that we continue next summer as part of our new instructor training in DMI. Thank you for all of your efforts and assistance.

If you are interested in my workshop, please contact Ms Jeannine Adams listed on the contact page of the blog and my web page. I must remind my readers that my workshop is applicable to organizations outside the Army as well. I have already done workshops for academic, police and first responders, as well as business, and all feedback has been excellent. The only negative feedback was that people said they wanted more.

Fred Leland and I are hosting our workshop (same as above) on the 14th of October up in Walpole, MA, please see Fred’s web site and blog.


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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?”


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In any organization promotion and selection, as well as evaluation tools, provide the primary “power levers for changing or maintaining culture.” These critical tools, presented as inherently fair, determine awards and control access to positions of influence and control.” They provide specific instructions when tasking subordinates due to an obsession with certainty. The individual as well as the “system” carefully monitor the execution of their instructions, and track all activities and outcomes with the finest attention to detail. Unfortunately, “professional systems and structures are not very adaptable.”

If any organization is to become adaptive, a “Learning Organization,” it must ensure that its personnel system supports its move to a learning organization, and not the other way around where a retained personnel system limits the evolution to adaptability. The organization must learn to be adaptive, while creating and supporting adaptive institutions. The thread of evolutionary adaptability must exist everywhere. It starts with doctrine and strategic leaders, and filters down to daily activities, threads through policies and beliefs, winding its way from the training base to the those teams deployed in the conduct of an array of possible future missions. An environment must be in place to support and nurture the adaptability an organization says it wants in its leaders and employees.


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