Website provides leaders continuity, collaboration
December 1, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson has initiated a leadership development Web page to promote idea sharing across the Army Training Center on Fort Jackson and across Initial Military Training. The Web page has two versions -- an open version for all military IMT installations and units to review and an AKO-access only SharePoint version with more guarded information and postings for Fort Jackson leaders.
These two sites allow the exchange of best practices across the different Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training brigades in IMT. The leadership concepts can also be beneficial to Basic Officer Leadership Course instructional sites and to Warrant Officer training. The postings provide useful tactics, techniques and procedures that will enable units to accomplish their missions more effectively.
The website has multiple applications. It will contain recent unclassified articles submitted by members of the IMT community. As a collection of articles and posting become available, the G5 will group them into an issue of the Fort Jackson Journal. The issues will become a means of archiving the material and encouraging junior and senior leaders to share their tacit knowledge with all. Old Initial Entry Training and IMT Journal editions are already posted on the Web page for easy access. Much of the material in these older articles still has relevance to trainers today.
As we experience the change of command season every summer, entirely too much experience walks out the door with every leader who relocates. A new commander comes into IMT, and the steep learning cycle repeats itself. New leaders take a year to become very knowledgeable of IMT TTPs, but do not share their ideas well in their last year as they prepare to PCS. This cycle leads to a two-year training paradigm in units that is continuously repeated with old ideas sometimes coming back into vogue a few years later.
This website is designed to prevent reinventing the IMT wheel. As leaders approach the end of their tours, they need to write articles and share what they have learned. We cannot allow material to slip out of our grasp when hard drives are wiped clean as departing leaders PCS. The website acts as a repository for successful ideas. The products can be in the form of unit Standard Operating Procedures, techniques, Cycle After Action Reviews, training cards, and other unit training products. The best ideas percolate up from junior leaders.
We need to be capturing these and sharing them with the entire IMT community. Training notes from senior leaders can also be posted and tracked on the website. If the commanding general puts out a guidance email, it may be worth retaining on the Web page for future referral.
The website, besides providing a forum to share IMT ideas, can be a place for other communities of interest to exchange ideas. The athletic trainer community can use this site to capture its lessons. As they have been piloted at selected installations and are now being expanded, they have learned many successful techniques that need to be shared with other civilian athletic trainers as they are hired. The steep learning curves of newly hired athletic trainers can be reduced by shared tacit knowledge from the veteran trainers.
Even as the athletic trainer population matures, they can still share great TTPs with others to increase their effectiveness. Each trainer has different training experiences and can share how he or she has modified techniques to help Soldiers. These ideas must be shared to help everyone; in a military environment, leaders can no longer wait six months to learn their new jobs.
The site also contains a repository of training videos that enable trainers to see real training before they experience it. Ideal for Leader Development Training and Training Support (Victory University), these videos show real cadre training actual Initial Entry Training Soldiers.
These videos are not intended for new Soldiers or families. They are meant for cadre to see what can go right and wrong in training. They do not always show what right looks like. Sometimes they show errors that our cadre make during training. The videos have basic questions to help guide cadre discussion. As we look to improve teaching skills in our cadre, we need to concentrate on successful techniques that model coaching and facilitation.
Our cadre needs further refinement, and these videos can help a battalion in its certification process. The films can reinforce learning points by showing actual field training events that are difficult for a unit to replicate when it is on cycle break or not on that particular range. The Web page also has a profession of arms site to capture the Army's ongoing review of the profession and the excellent material that has been written on it.
Again, the site is convenient to the user who is checking on IMT material to read material quickly that has been referenced by the chain of command on Fort Jackson. The CG and post command sergeant major also have a rigorous leadership program for battalion commanders and CSMs. Material related to this program is also posted for them to review and to retain as they experience the various learning and developmental assignments.
We need to enable the IMT community to share ideas and issues. The answer to a particular problem on Fort Jackson may have been developed at another installation, and solutions at Jackson may be what other IMT installations could use.
Editor's note: To access the open version of the site, visit www.jackson.army.mil and click on "Leader Development" on the left side of the page. The other version is listed under "Leader Development" on the SharePoint site.