TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2014) -- Recruiting operations are no different than any other operation in the Army. The foundation of any good plan is proper planning through intelligence and lessons learned. In order for a center to be successful in the day to day fight, the center must employ its limited and valuable assets optimally.A center's most valuable assets are the noncommissioned officers (NCOs) on recruiting duty and their time. With that being said, below are some simple steps that can help you become more effective and efficient in the planning process.The first thing you need to do is breakdown the ZIP codes for your assigned area. You can do this by going to Business Intelligence (BI) Zone and pulling your market share by ZIP code over the previous three or four years.When you breakdown each ZIP code, the focus should be on total DoD production, not the just the Army's production. The goal is to find out what each ZIP code enlisted on average over the past three or four years. Once you have done this you will know what ZIP codes you need to focus your force on as well as the number of enlistments you must accomplish for the year.There is no reason to wait for your mission to come down, because you know what you need to enlist based on a historical average to take 50 percent of the DOD market share. Once you have done this for the year, you need to repeat the process for each quarter as well.Every area is different, so some quarters will be stronger in certain areas than others. It is extremely important to consider economic and demographic changes in your footprint that forecast where the propensity of the markets are changing. This enables you to know past performance and then predict future opportunities. Now that you know what ZIP codes on which to foucs, it is critical that you validate which schools are comprised of which ZIP codes. Since a lot of areas have schools of choice, often times our school validation report can be misleading. The easy way to figure out what ZIP codes truly feed which schools is through Recruiter Zone.In order to do this you must create a list for a school with the current grad year and see which ZIP codes feed into that school. Often times a school will have several ZIP codes that feed into the school, but the majority of contracts will come from only a few of the ZIP codes. With this information, you should be able to determine which schools are truly targeted schools.School folders are another way to help determine the past enlistments from each school. Since we now have an understanding of where to employ our assets, let's focus on how to employ our NCOs. The first thing we need to do is ensure we know, as a team, how many conducts we need for the phase line to accomplish the mission. We do this by looking at the previous three Phase Line MAPs. Your previous PL MAPs are going to tell you how many conducts you truly need to accomplish both the quality and volume mission.It is fully understood in this command that you do not prospect for "others" so conversion data from quality prospecting will lead you to the requirements for mission success.Take your mission accomplishment plans and add together total grad alphas (GAs) enlisted. Do the same for grad bravos (GBs), senior alphas (SAs), and senior bravos (SBs). Once you have done this, divide GBs in to GAs and you will see what your GA to GB ratio is.For example, if your team enlisted 10 GAs and 5 GBs then you would know that for every two GAs you enlist, one GB will also enlist. Do the same for SAs and SBs so you know both your GA to GB and SA to SB enlistment ratio. Now look at your conversion data to see how many conducts you will need to accomplish both your quality and other mission. When building your recruiting operation plan (ROP), ensure you focus on your top ZIP codes, targeted schools, and total number of conducts needed to accomplish the mission. During the construction of the ROP it is vital that the entire team gives input.Ensure that the engagement teams (ETs), recruiting support teams (RSTs), and Future Soldier leaders (FSLs) understand how many appointments they need to make and conduct in order to help the team. Every NCO is a part of the team, so they need to contribute. Your FSLs should be soliciting referrals from Future Soldiers, collecting intelligence from Future Soldiers, and conducting prospecting activities in conjunction with Future Soldiers to help assist the Future Soldiers in getting promoted.When the RSTs are processing applicants, they should be getting referrals from their applicants during the processing phase. If RSTs are not currently processing an applicant, then they must be prospecting. It is imperative for the success of the team that every NCO contributes 100 percent effort towards prospecting.--- TTP 1: When targeting colleges, ensure you employ your local Army Reserve units in the colleges. They are awesome, providing free TAIR assets that can be utilized with great success. For example, if you have a military police unit in your area, they can speak to the students in the Criminal Justice Department. The same is true for medics speaking to the Medical Department and Civil Affairs units speaking to the Political Science Department.--- TTP 2: Use your Future Soldiers to gain intelligence, because in this business human intelligence is the best form of intel. Give the FSs clear objectives to accomplish weekly. For example, have them tell you who sits in front of them, behind them and beside them in 2nd and 4th period. They should also be tasked to find out what their future plans are, what sports they play, and what time practices are so your NCOs can conduct targeted prospecting activities directed at those students.Do not limit your FSs prospecting efforts to people they know want to join the military. Your recruiters are the subject matter experts at laying out a plan, using the Army recruiting compensation advantage (ARCA), to inform prospects of the benefits the Army can provide for their future.--- TTP 3: None of the above ideas will work without each NCO in the center focusing on the center's cohesiveness and team work. Each NCO assigned to the center is going to have certain areas in which they are strong and others with which they struggle.Open communication, honesty and tact will allow the center to exploit strengths and train on weaknesses. Open forum training - formal or informal - has proven to promote an atmosphere that encourages cross talk and lessons learned. If each NCO feels comfortable discussing what they see on a daily basis, they will give a true leader's assessment that will often include or promote an immediate solution to issues and identify those practices that are working.It's important to remember that every NCO in the center was a leader before they came to the Recruiting Command and should be expected to leave better than they arrived.