Wranglers Implement New 5-4-5 Program
August 17, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - Capt. Mark Lee, 4th Brigade Troops Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) chaplain, and Lt. Col. John Hickey, the BTB commander, developed the 5-4-5 program when they wanted to find a way to encourage leaders to get to know their Soldiers better, and to be aware of issues that affect Soldiers' lives.
The program is designed to help Soldiers feel comfortable opening up and speaking freely. Each weekly session consists of a guided conversation covering five topics or areas of life: financial, professional, relationship, personal and spiritual. Leaders receive a small pamphlet each week with a discussion point for each topic, and they facilitate a small group discussion for five minutes per topic.
"The conversation flows quickly once a group gets started," said Lee. "The point is for the leader to guide a conversation; not to preach, teach or correct anyone. Just let them speak."
Lee believes that the key to a great conversation is limiting the size of each group so everyone has a chance to speak.
"The goal is to proactively manage these areas of Soldiers lives," said Lee. "Then we can intervene with any potential problems before they become bigger issues."
The 502nd Human Resources Company has already begun utilizing the program. Because of the success they have observed so far, Hickey and Lee intend for the entire Wrangler Brigade to participate eventually.
"Leaders have noticed that some of the groups that have used it have changed their attitudes and patterns of behavior since beginning the program," he said. "There has definitely been some improvement so we believe 5-4-5 can be very effective."
Lee has developed a training video to show leaders how the program works, but he says it is self-explanatory and anyone can facilitate a group with one of the pamphlets.
"The program is not rigid," he said. "It becomes what it needs to become and anyone can do it. Meetings are brief and they can be held anywhere."
While the 5-4-5 program was developed for the Wrangler Brigade, Lee has been contacted by Fort Hood's spiritual fitness center for information about the program. He doesn't know if they will use it, but he feels that it would be helpful for any unit.
"We created this for our Soldiers," he said. "But if anyone else wanted to adopt it, I don't see why not. It can really be useful to anyone."