By Kari HawkinsDecember 13, 2017
Taking control of career development is the responsibility of every government civilian, particularly if their aspirations are to be promoted into leadership roles and the Senior Executive Service, according to the Deputy to the Commander of the Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM).
Speaking to AMCOM Logistics Center employees attending the ALC Logistics Career Day on Dec. 5, Mr. Bill Marriott told employees that career development begins with one simple question: "Are you in this for a career or are you in this for a job?"
In the military, service members are required to be committed to the profession of arms, with their career development mapped out for them and requirements clearly defined, he said. But, for the Army civilian, they first must decide if they want to pursue a career and be part of a profession, and then they must decide which of many different paths they will follow to climb their career ladder, Marriott said.
Obtaining certification in the Logistics Management Series, 0346, demonstrates ALC employees commitment to their career as a logistician. The certification comes with three levels - foundation, intermediate and advanced.
"If you are in this for a career, then you probably want to pursue the 346 certification," Marriott said. "The culture of AMCOM is changing and, with the things going in the world, the value of logisticians has increased tremendously. We are focusing more on metrics and expectations, and are becoming a metrics driven culture with goals and targets."
In recent months, to meet the Army's and the Army Materiel Command's priority of readiness, AMCOM has been committed to achieving 100 percent supply availability through its logistics activities. Marriot believes the AMCOM Logistics Center is up to that challenge, even though it will not be easy to reach 100 percent.
"What you do is absolutely incredible and I'm here to thank you for that," Marriott said. "You wouldn't be here if you weren't careerists, if you didn't want to be part of the logistics profession."
Marriott's comments opened a day of career development that included a presentation on 346 certification by Keisha Johnson of the Army's Civilian Logistics Career Management Office at Fort Lee, Virginia, a Logistics Leaders Round Table, LOG Director's Panel and Redstone Arsenal Tenant Organizations Questions and Answers.
"The certification program (for Career Paths 13, 17 and 24) develops your path as professionals. It focuses on multifunctional logisticians with experience in at least two of the three logistics areas - supply, maintenance and transportation," Johnson said. "The certification program is our plan to provide you with a well-defined career path, and our way of developing mentally agile and adaptive logistics leaders."
At each level of the certificate program - foundation (minimum two years of experience), intermediate (minimum four years of experience) and advanced (minimum eight years of experience) - logisticians must complete required courses and show their experience as a multifunctional logistician, Johnson said. Once all three levels are complete, the employee is considered a master logistician.
"How serious are you about your career? If you want to do things that moves your career to the next level, this is what you want," Johnson said.
The 346 certification program develops a talent pool that senior leaders can tap into while providing Army logisticians a deliberate development path for leadership and technical proficiencies, maintaining skills and knowledge, earning credentials and managing their career.
The Logistics Leaders Round Table - including retired AMCOM logisticians and senior leaders Jim Flinn and Rick Turner; ALC director Renee Mosher and former ALC deputy director Bill Andrews, and led by ALC's Mark Moe - reiterated much of what Marriott and Johnson advised in response to questions from the audience.
"You have to make your own path," Mosher said. "The opportunities are out there for you. But its work you have to do if you want to progress in your career.
"Look at your assignments. You have to be competitive with your counterparts and a lot of those are retired military officers. You have to make yourself competitive. Ask yourself, 'Have I had those broadening assignments? Have I prepared myself for opportunities?'"
Flinn, who is the only logistician inducted into the Army Materiel Command's Hall of Fame, followed a government civilian career path for 35 years with no former military experience. Even so, he was able to take on diverse assignments that taught him about logistics. In Germany he learned how to work logistics at the user level. At the Pentagon, he experienced strategic level logistics planning.
Through his entire career he built relationships that influenced decisions along his career path and took on new opportunities to grow his logistics capabilities and knowledge.
"You plan your career. You make choices to stay at Redstone Arsenal and wait for good things to happen or you force those things to happen," he said.
Leaders need to build relationships that help to get objectives accomplished, and provide their employees with the autonomy to work projects and issues.
"As a leader you accomplish things quicker and more accurately based on relationships, Andrews said. "As a leader, you need to provide broad and clear guidance. Tell your employees what the path is, what the goals are, and then seriously get out of way and let them go accomplish things.
"Lastly, allow employees the opportunity to fail, allow some risk and when they do fail you have to provide top cover. You take responsibility for failures and if they win, they get all the praise."
Building relationships is about connecting with employees and co-workers, Turner said. Leaders should be interested in their employees, show compassion, ask questions and be present when employees receive recognition.
"Each of us needs to be a humble civil servant supporting Soldiers," Turner said. "Take yourself out of the equation and connect. It's about building relationships, helping each other up, encouraging each other, mentoring each other, being one team. Good leaders set the environment for people to thrive and flourish and build trust."