Goals In Lieu of Vision: A Practical Exercise in Developing a Purposeful Organization

Goals In Lieu of Vision_3x5 Leadership

By Zach Mierva

Recently I was fortunate enough to guide nine cadet companies in developing goals for their organization at the United States Military Academy (USMA), where I currently work. After observing two semesters of failed attempts at mission and vision inculcation, I opted to change the script on how cadets create priorities for their organization to lead deliberately purposeful organizations rather than a group of people who happen to live and work near each other. Working alongside the incoming cadet commanders and first sergeants, flanked with a seasoned TAC NCO (Tactical Non-Commissioned Officer acting as a company First Sergeant) and former USMA cadet leadership, I watched as these future leaders transformed their lofty concepts into tangible steps to improve their formations by leveraging the art and science of creating purpose, direction, and motivation. I found the exercise incredibly impactful as a tool that I believe should be in a leader’s kit bag for future use within any level of an organization and in any industry. Continue reading → Goals In Lieu of Vision: A Practical Exercise in Developing a Purposeful Organization

How to Better Understand Army Training

Training Graphic

“A small unit leader should be doing one of two things: leading Soldiers and small units during battle, or preparing Soldiers and small units to fight the battle.” —COL (Ret.) Dandridge Malone, from his book, Small Unit Leadership: A Common Sense Approach.

 “All unit leaders are responsible for quality training. Primary roles involve training subordinate leaders and developing teams” (para 1-21) –U.S. Army’s FM 7-0.

Training can take many forms, from SHARP and resiliency training, to equipment maintenance and accountability, to a unit field training exercise (FTX). No matter the form, military training is conducted to achieve one end: to win in a complex world (FM 7-0, para 1-1). Continue reading → How to Better Understand Army Training

Company Command Series Part X: Deployment Readiness

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This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post discusses how to validate your company’s combat readiness and deployability so it is not a surprise when you are called upon to accomplish your mission.

My brigade commander continuously reminded my fellow company commanders and me that, “commanders generate readiness.” He felt so passionate about readiness that he included my capacity to maintain readiness in his senior rater comments in my OER. Readiness really is that important. I believe that equipment and personnel readiness should always be the top priority of a commander (at any level); without sufficient deployability, what are you bringing to the fight?

I believe company commanders can easily establish methods at their level to test and validate their company’s readiness. I can’t think of many things worse than being called to conduct a deployment readiness exercise (DRE) by a higher headquarters (let alone a real world short-notice deployment) where you boast a 95% combat power deployability, but only 60% of your equipment and personnel can leave the motor pool. Commanders generate readiness and it all starts with the company commander. Below are ideas to create a company-level DRE program. Not every DRE requires extensive time and resources; vary your DRE methods up to support your training calendar.  Continue reading → Company Command Series Part X: Deployment Readiness

Company Command Series Part IX: Troop Leading Procedures

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 This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post discusses how to maximize operations and Troop Leading Procedures efficiency in your company.

With the often-overwhelming requirements placed on companies, coupled with continuous time constraints, it is hard to implement the Troop Leading Procedures (TLPs) in their entirety. Throughout my command, I often felt that my company and I should be doing more to maximize TLP effectiveness. This is why it is imperative that commanders and companies codify how to conduct TLPs and expectations throughout. This post introduces some aspects that made TLPs successful in my experience, and a few recommendations based on lessons learned. As with all content in these posts, these serve as options for commanders to consider and implement. I encourage readers to share their experiences and lessons in how to effectively leverage TLPs beyond this. Continue reading → Company Command Series Part IX: Troop Leading Procedures

Company Command Series Part V: Unit Training Management Concluded

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This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post wraps up Unit Training Management focusing on METL and collective task training tracking.

With the Army’s introduction of Objective-T for Mission Essential Task List (METL) proficiency reporting, it is more critical than ever to codify and be objective in your company’s own METL tracking.

Before the implementation of Objective-T, I created a matrix to record MET and collective task training conducted. The matrix columns were my formations, one for the company and one for each platoon. The rows were our assigned METs and the designated supporting collective tasks. For each applicable collective task, platoon leaders updated training conducted on that specific task. The PLs include all necessary information regarding the training of that collective task needed for an Objective-T rating to include date(s) last trained, if training was conducted day and night, live fire exercise incorporated or not, and the number of participating personnel from the platoon compared to authorized. Continue reading → Company Command Series Part V: Unit Training Management Concluded

Company Command Series Part IV: Unit Training Management Continued

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This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post discusses Unit Training Management focused on company-level planning and training week management.

FM 7-0 states that companies must maintain training calendars and plan five months in advance. I personally preferred to plan six to seven months out to secure training area land before other units on the installation. So how do you determine what to plan five to seven months in advance? Every unit has their means of training planning, I acknowledge that. I leveraged company-level quarterly planning conferences (QPC). Continue reading → Company Command Series Part IV: Unit Training Management Continued