Posts Tagged ‘Raising the Bar: Developing and Creating Adaptability t’

Building Adaptive Leaders
The Army Can Adapt Its Institution (Pt. 1)
by Major Donald E. Vandergriff, Small Wars Journal

Building Adaptive Leaders (Full PDF Article)

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).


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I had a good last week at Fort Monroe Virginia (actually Hampton Virginia home to the beautiful campus of Hampton University). I was lecturing, along with my friend Morgan Darwin, Army leaders that run ROTC programs throughout the nation on new techniques to develop adaptability and raise the bar on professionalism. I only lectured for two hours, but most importantly talked to several leaders in Cadet Command about how to get better at developing their cadets.

Work remains to be done, adapting their curriculum and program of instruction to the adaptive leader methodology, but Major Chad Foster, course director of the Military Science 3 (juniors) at the United States Military Academy’s Department of Military Instruction (DMI),¬†hard work is helping out. Chad has worked every day since April (when we first met) changing lesson plans to ones applicable to the ALM model.¬† Each lesson, or most of them, now begin with a Tactical Decision Game, but more importantly, it is the way the teachers facilitate the classes that is key. They do not lecture by power point any more, but instead drive the students to seek the answers for themselves.


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