There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes here at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and I’ll be sharing updates with you over the next few weeks. I’ll start with sharing about my trip to England.
Just over a week ago, I had the honor to attend the 2017 Regimental Sergeant Major’s Convention at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Camberley, England. Senior enlisted leaders from other services, as well as representatives from Australia and Estonia, got together to discuss talent management with the Regimental Sergeants Major of the British Army.
Talent management is a familiar topic in our enlisted force – with our entire Army – but this just goes to show you that although our armies wear different uniforms, have different tactics, and sometimes appear to speak a different language, we share many of the same challenges across our respective enlisted ranks.
Surprisingly enough, the various challenges were pretty common across the board despite our structural differences. Those challenges include not having the proper equipment to train on, not having enough school seats or the proper balance of the right schools, and a lack of manpower to send Soldiers to training or schools based on mission requirements. These were just a few of the challenges the group identified.
As the NCO 2020 Strategy has moved from concept to execution, I’ve been able to see the demonstrable changes it’s made on our enlisted force. It can serve as a blueprint for change for other armies too – but because the British Army is so much smaller and their rank structure slightly different, the strategy serves more as a recommendation on a number of specific subject areas, rather than an overarching fix.
With that in mind, it didn’t take long in this setting to realize that what works for the U.S. Army may not always work for the British Army, or what works for the Army, may not always work for the other services. It wasn’t about identifying issues and finding an immediate fix, however. Rather, it was the exchange of ideas and the understanding and acceptance of our common challenges. Nonetheless, the attendees recognized the NCO 2020 Strategy as demonstrating a successful approach to talent management.
We shared our knowledge and experiences, built new relations, and strengthened the partnerships already in place. More importantly though, we had the opportunity to listen to three junior enlisted troops. They spoke of their struggles, their leadership and their ability to thrive despite certain setbacks. Their presence was a reminder to each of us that taking the time to listen to our Soldiers helps to identify and address weaknesses within our systems. Soldiers are the foundation of what makes our armies whole, regardless of the flag they serve under.
Engaged and successful leaders give these Soldiers the respect they are due, encourage and push them to aim for achievement beyond their current abilities, and coach and mentor them to learn and grow. If we fail these simple tasks, we have failed these Soldiers – and lose the importance of what it actually means to “manage talent.”
Keep checking back for fresh content in the coming weeks! Victory Starts Here!