Hello Victory Division! I want to start by thanking Brig. Gen. Kuilan and the selection board for the opportunity to serve as the new 95th Division CSM. It is an honor to rejoin the 95th team and I look forward to getting out and engaging with our Soldiers, Drill Sergeants and Officers. We have an outstanding pool of hardworking, dedicated talent. People truly are our greatest strength.
The Army is currently undergoing a lot of change: our shift in focus from counterinsurgency (COIN) to full-scale combat operations with peer/near-peer adversaries, new physical fitness test, new weapons and qualification standards, new promotion processes, talent management, and building cohesive units and teams. Even in the IET space, there are numerous changes in the works, from Drill Sergeant training and certification to the basic training program of instruction (POI).
All of this can seem overwhelming at times. Our tendency is to resist change. It’s just human nature. We get comfortable with the familiar and predictable. We don’t like it when someone moves our cheese. It induces stress, uncertainty, and fear. That said, change is the one constant we can always count on. How we react to change sets us apart from our competitors. Adaptable leaders and resilient Soldiers are the organizational foundation that allows us to stay ready, be flexible, and win. Bottom line: we evolve, we adapt, and we improve.
Change can come from within an organization or from external forces. Some organizations are more adaptable than others. Leaders set the conditions and environment for successful evolution. There must be a well-defined vision on where the organization is going, then alignment of strategic objectives with supporting lines of effort. Once that is in place, it is just a matter of getting everyone on board. Peter Gallagher, a leading author in change management, writes “there are 3 groups in any change journey: ‘Advocates’, ‘Observers’, and ‘Rebels’. Each reacts differently to organizational change and will have different levels of resistance.” Overcoming resistance and getting most, not necessarily all, people to embrace it is the goal of effective change leadership. This is how you get change to “stick”.
Diversity is another critical component of leading change. By employing a diverse range of people, an organization gives itself depth, breadth, and the potential to discover solutions that are more creative. This is especially true through periods of change. Diversity provides the impetus to discover more innovative solutions, making staffs and teams more inclusive, inventive, and agile. Thus, aiding in the breakdown of resistance to change.
The Army is in the midst of transformational change. We must build the Army we need for the future. Our competitors have aggressively modernized and are exerting their influence on the world’s stage. We are at a pivotal moment where we have to change to ensure we sustain our global overmatch. This is not a quick process. It is a five to 15-year process. As a training command, our mission is to provide Drill Sergeants who train Soldiers to fight and win; Soldiers who are ready, resilient, fit, and disciplined. They are the next generation who are going to take the reins and finish the transformation. They are the future and we must set them up for success. That is our sacred obligation to our Soldiers, their families, and the American People. As the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. McConville says “There is no second place or honorable mention in combat. Winning matters.”