By Brig. Gen. Milford H. "Beags" Beagle Jr.July 3, 2019
This week I want to discuss the importance of transition. How we transition affects us, the workplace, and our Family. There are some key periods of transition here at Fort Jackson. As we say hello or farewell to our military and civilian personnel, we must do our best to assist them and allow them time to fully prepare for their departure or next chapter in life.
What's on my mind:
A time to say goodbye, and a chance to make a positive lasting first impression.
Summer is officially here and with it begins one of the most critical times of the year for us as an institution. The peak Permanent Change of Station begins and with it comes our opportunity to recognize the service of those departing and welcome new faces for all those arriving. Although this is considered a normal part of the military life cycle, PCS moves can be a really positive experience, or a very trying ordeal for military families and individuals. In order to set the conditions that minimize the stress associated with moving, we all have a part to play.
There are some very basic but critical points that leaders must focus on during this time and with so much turnover, it's not business as usual. For those departing, all will depart with an evaluation and award befitting their performance and service. This is not negotiable. There is no poorer reflection upon leadership than to allow those departing to leave empty handed. For those leaving the Fort Jackson team, please know how much I value your contribution and appreciate your service. What you have done here at Fort Jackson will have a lasting impact on our goal of achieving and maintaining mission success. We wish you and your Family the best in your future endeavors
For those arriving, we will set conditions for immediate success. That starts well in advance with the assigning of a sponsor. There are few additional duties more important than serving as a sponsor. The sponsor will be handpicked and will assist in all aspects of bringing our new Families into the fold. Communication will occur early and continue through the duration of the transition.
In our attempts to ensure success, all incoming Soldiers, Families and Civilians will attend our two-day Newcomer's Orientation. This is where a collective team puts it's best foot forward. Inprocessing must be well organized, user friendly and provide one stop shopping. Housing plays a tremendous role during this time, as well as transportation. Commanders will take an active role in identifying and resolving problems. Supporting organizations will ensure that they provide the absolute best services available and have feedback mechanisms that allow them to identify and correct problems. Expect that both I and CSM Gan, will be visiting quarters, meeting moving trucks as they arrive and getting firsthand accounts of how we are doing. Together we will set the bar high and eliminate drama.
Hand-in-hand with transitions are first impressions.
There's a well-told adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression. From personal relationships to staff meetings, people form opinions of us, for better or worse, in just a few moments.
The first thing you notice about a new assignment is the appearance of the installation, followed by how you are treated when you arrive; whether it is the guard at the gate, the personnel clerk at the unit or your new first sergeant or commander. Every Soldier, employee or visitor who walks through the door forms their first impression of your organization immediately based on their reception. You can help make the first impression people have of Fort Jackson a good one. Simply remember to treat everyone the same way you want to be treated.
Just as important is the impression you make on other people. It takes maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms and your bearing.
Not only are first impressions registered with lightning speed, but they last a surprisingly long time. Research has found that it can take up to six months of regular contact with someone to change their initial impression and alter the lens through which they see you or your organization.
These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, and they often set the tone for the relationship that follows.
The three most important things you can do when you enter a person's office or meet a person for the first time are: (1) smile, (2) have good eye contact and (3) a firm handshake.�Those three things alone will help set you apart from many people and leave a good first impression.
If you are residing on-post, the Fort Jackson housing office needs your feedback. We want to help improve your housing experience, but we can't do that without your help. Not only do we need to know the areas we need to improve, but also where we are doing well so we can continue to provide you the best housing service.
Recent surveys and feedback indicate, we are doing better, but we're not there yet. Our overall rating on "Satisfacts" surveys has increased from 3.95 to 4.36 (on a five-point scale) since January, and Balfour Beatty is completing an average of 30 percent more work orders each month. While this is a good start, we still need to continue to improve. Our Satisfacts response rate is only 16 percent and that needs to improve. We want to hear from you; good or bad, so we can make the necessary changes.
Way Ahead: We will continue quarterly town halls so we can hear your concerns, as Balfour Beatty continues to regain your trust. They will do this by soliciting and acting on feedback they receive from your calls and survey responses. These are just a few ways you can give feedback about your housing experience. Talk to your Housing Mayor, better yet - become one! We encourage residents to elevate their concerns through their chain of command if Balfour Beatty and the Garrison Housing Office are unable to resolve their issues. We must improve how we communicate concerns in order to resolve our issues. Without your input we can't be part of the solution.
If you'd like to comment or provide feedback on various issues around Fort Jackson visit my Facebook page (@FortJacksonCommandingGeneral) where this article will be posted. Your issue may or may not be addressed in my next column, but stay tuned. You might discover issues you have are the same as mine and the post command sergeant major. If you would like to remain anonymous you can send a private message to that page as well. Your comments will remain anonymous and go to one person. If you have a topic that involves SHARP, illegal behavior or acts, etc., it will be provided to the appropriate authorities and not addressed in a public forum.