The Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) Senior Management Association (SMA) met at the Top of the Bay on Aug. 22 to further develop their communication skills and to learn more about APG's Network Enterprise Center.

Prior to the introduction of the guest speakers, Gary Martin, deputy to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), spoke to the group about the importance of the development of APG's senior leaders. He said that there is value in getting together, collaborating together and to continue building relationships throughout the installation.

"The SMA falls under the Cohort Program, which is available for GS 14s and 15s at APG and Edgewood -- this is your program," stated Martin. "We need to take development of our senior leaders one step further -- what do you do for continuous professional development?"

Martin stressed the importance of training and developing the workforce.

Monique Ferrell, deputy auditor general for manpower, reserve affairs and training audits at the U.S. Army Audit Agency in Alexandria, Va., spoke to the group about the importance of effective communications.

Ferrell said she would give the same advice to a new supervisor that she would a married couple -- "communicate, communicate and communicate some more -- but, it's about effective communication."

She stressed that as a manager it is your responsibility to effectively communicate.

"Is it appropriate to use electronic communication, or is face-to-face the appropriate means?" asked Ferrell. "What is the reason for the communication?"

She also asked the group if they had heard the expression 'thoughting,' which is defined as thinking about defending your position without letting the other person finish what they are saying.

"Have you ever experienced a situation when someone is responding to your question or statement before you finish? That's typically the outcome of "thoughting," said Ernie Chin, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Weapons and Materials Research Directorate. "It is very disruptive to realize that the person you are communicating to is no longer listening, but reacting before you have a chance to finish communicating your thought. That is not effective communication, but more often destructive behavior."

Ferrell said that powerfully engaged managers equal effective communicators.

"The bottom line is this… it's not just about the message -- you are the messenger, message and manager," Ferrell emphasized.

Dan Jacobs, acting director, from APG's Network Enterprise Center spoke to the group about information technology demands at APG. He said there are more than 70 commands on the installation with a total of 93 bill paying customers.

"APG has an extremely heavy IT base," said Jacobs. "With BRAC [base realignment and closure], our demands grew incredibly."

Jacobs went into some detail about network requirements for the more than 13,500 computers at APG in addition to the 40,000 telephone lines. He said that radio communication is critical as well as information assurance.

"There is no way we can work together on this installation without a clear communication path," said Jacobs. "We need to work together to get to 'yes, we can get it done' with our complex network requirements."

There are currently 118 members in the SMA who meet periodically to network within APG to increase efficiencies. They get to meet their counterparts in the about 80 tenant organizations and are afforded opportunities to seek alternative solutions to on-the-job challenges.

Cecilia Magee, president of SMA and chair of the steering committee, works at the Command, Control and Communications Tactical (C3T) Directorate, and is the TACRAD Branch Chief of Supply Chain Management Division. She indicated that involvement in the SMA is voluntary and that no funding is requested.

"It is so important for APG as an installation to share common resources and grow our future managers," said Magee.

James Lint, director G2 at CECOM agrees.

"I believe the SMA gives managers a chance to meet and learn outside of our organization silos. We have many organizations with little cross communication. I learn every time I meet other members outside of my organization. There are always more ways to be successful, and other professionals might have an easier method," said Lint.

The next meeting will be held at the Top of the Bay on Oct. 17. Guest speakers will be Brian Simmons, Director of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, SES (Senior Executive Service) who will discuss how to become an SES and Cecilia Black, C3T Director, CECOM who will talk about C3T.

For more information about becoming involved, please send e-mail to james.r.lint2.civ@mail.mil.

Page last updated Tue September 25th, 2012 at 00:00