Performance Experts have been working at the Army Resilience Directorate’s R2 Performance Centers since the early days of the program, so Embedded Performance Experts may find the idea of being on-site with a unit as a unique situation for both themselves and the Soldiers. As they embrace this new assignment, they may see that the job hasn’t changed much, only their desk location.
For Performance Experts who are accustomed to serving as the point of contact for multiple units, being an EPE is a switch that allows for the opportunity to narrow their focus, time, and energy to a single battalion. PEs looking to be successful as an EPE should consider using the 3 Cs: Creativity. Commitment. Consistency.
No two battalions in the Army are the same, let alone two squads. Creativity starts with the intake and observations of the unit. Often, the unit may not know what they want, which is okay—that’s an EPE’s job. What they may know is the problem, issue, or area they want to see improved. The EPE will then create training that addresses the issues. Regardless of the situation, intent, or performance, EPEs should avoid teaching the same lesson plan twice and find ways to relate their knowledge and experience in a way that resonates with Soldiers.
The EPE should be committed to the job, to providing better than anticipated training, and to always striving to over-deliver. What this means is to find new approaches or adjustments to cognitive skills continually. The last thing an EPE should be is complacent. Remain committed to the battalion's overall performance, whether the focus is on the leadership, staff, or Soldiers. Be it walking through a raging river while supporting a platoon live fire exercise or delivering virtual training in less than 24-hours-notice due to COVID-19.
Showing up consistently is key to being better and helping others get better. The EPE should go to the training meetings, the Soldier Risk Reduction Counsels, and show face around the Companies. Anyone who works with the military knows you always have to be ready for things to change and adapt on the fly. But when you create a consistent, confident presence within the unit, it is easier to adjust and add value to the training event. This constant presence demonstrates to the battalions what to expect from you when they ask for training, and you will know what to expect from them.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you. Through a consistent, confident presence and demonstrated commitment to the unit, EPEs will learn how to own that responsibility and build a solid relationship with the company they serve.
(Editor’s note: Kelsey Otten spent six months embedded with the 1-506 Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division).