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Big Picture

In: Business and Management

Submitted By garysmith2792
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Often as a LDR specifically as a Company Commander I would constantly talk to my Lts and senior NCOs about looking at the big picture. Sometimes we get a tasking or mission they feel does not make sense or seem to have no purpose. I have to always remind them to look at the “big picture” of this requirement before making any negative judgment. Often these taskings make sense to myself as a commander and whether I like it or not is irrelevant because in my on deductive reasoning it supports a picture much bigger than I. I have always thought about how do I train my junior officers and NCOs to think of the big picture operationally. The answer was always right in front of me. Train junior officers and NCOs to think big picture operationally through the use of case studies. Often in required OES we use case studies to broaden our critical thinking skills and to think at higher levels and 3rd and 4th order effects—the “big picture” In today’s conflicts major changes has occurred in Army training. One catch phrase that has evolved from the current conflict is the “strategic corporal” An E4 making strategic decisions while leading a patrol through the streets of Baghdad or the mountains in Afghanistan is now common place. No longer Shoot! Move! and Communicate! or CTT is the cornerstone basic soldier skills. There is one encompassing core training system no matter the MOS called Army Warrior Training and Battle Drills. This is constantly changing to reflect the changes on the battle field. This led to a recent front page cover in the Army Times titled “Train NCOs to be more like officers”. Which for me started out to be a joke that I took to work to show all the NCOs the Army’s new plan for NCOES which is to train them more like officers? Much to their dismay I think the point was missed (maybe because of my approach) we spend countless hours in our OES classes developing these skill to think strategically or at the big picture through case studies. Why not do it with the ones doing the work. Such as your strategic corporal and the NCOs we want to think more like officers. Presenting case studies to these strategic corporals will better prepare them to understand how their decision or actions impact the situation, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th order effects. When using case studies such as Mayaguez that we completed in class puts them into a position of developing solutions analyzing the solutions than deciding on the best possible solution and compare it to the actual outcome. This leads to discussion of the similarities and differences of their decision. I believe this process will give them a better understanding of how pieces in the puzzle come together and such mundane or seemingly fruitless taskings can really have purpose in the mission but are not readily visible. And ultimately lead to “big picture” thinking. The Army Times front page cover Title Train NCO’s to think more like officers, carries more credibility now that I have had time to think about it. During my last tour in Iraq NCOs from E5 to E7 had to often lead dismounted patrols through local communities or run a voting station or work with local officials. Often decisions had to be made without the assistance of the lieutenant or commander. NCOs have also always been thought of as the executor of the decisions of officers and under the these types of conflicts that is not always the case. They must make those decisions; therefore we need them to think like an officer as the title from the cover of the Army Times states and think of the “big picture” Which again leads me to the use of case studies, these case studies would have to be geared more to company and battalion operations level. However the same process we used on the Mayaguez case study would be applied. Ultimately the goal is to equip all soldiers with a better understanding of the “big picture” and apply to a low intensity conflict or a high intensity conflict. The practice of surrounding yourself with smarter and better people is a practice that does not make me feel inferior but empowered. Training junior officers and NCOs to think “big picture” operationally through the use of case studies will be an approach I will use to surround myself with smarter and better prepared soldiers. This is another tool to enhance my career as a leader but most of all to enhance the careers of my subordinate.…...

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