Page 89 - Jackson Journal
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                The problem encountered in Basic Combat Training (BCT) of retaining individuals is also a problem throughout the force. To mitigate this,
the U.S. Army uses strategies in sync with societal culture to both recruit and retain. We’re currently expected to explain America’s role in international affairs concurrently with how the service is going to benefit the interested individual. The civilian
is rarely addressed through media with the core reasons as to why it is important to serve. We
talk more about operators with beards and the
type of benefits that are available than pushing
the message that service secures our freedom and way of life. The Army does this because it has to. These are the culturally relevant factors in our individualistic society and we must remain relevant to sustain our force. The current advertising focus of the US Army, “What’s Your Warrior”, focuses on displaying the various occupational specialties and the importance of the individual. There are many factors to determine if this strategy is successful
in identifying with societies concerns, but it’s pertinent that we also put in the effort to retain.
Now how do we effectively retain? We can accomplish it through three stages. Compliance, commitment, and then consistency, with the end state being a Soldier dedicated to the cause and consistent in performance. The U.S. Army’s model to ensure Soldier compliance is a one size fits all method. It would be unrealistic to have a plan of action for every type of personality, but we as leaders are given the latitude to navigate the social environment and implement changes
as justification to ensure compliance. At the early stages of a Trainee or Soldier’s career, leaders should focus on using motivation as a tool. Again we focus on motivation because it is necessary for individual advancement and inspiration is not. Once individuals are compliant, we can then attempt to transition them into the realm of commitment, or
a dedication to the group/cause. But how do you
do this? This is very challenging when you factor the complexity of an individual and their reactions to different methods. It boils down to learning the individual and figuring out their mindset and what triggers their response in a positive manner. If you do choose to transition to commitment through inspiration, understand that the odds of inspiring the masses is unrealistic. Take a look at the psychological study of cognitive bias, the Dunning- Kruger effect. We can use this concept to illustrate the fact that some people think that they are more inspirational than what they really are. If we take all the leaders in the military, both commissioned Officers and NCOs, and apply them as illustrated in the graph of cognitive bias, it forces us to recognize that the majority of leaders are average in the field of inspiration and a large portion likely believe they are more inspirational than what they actually are. It often takes a special person and a gifted orator
to purposefully inspire others, something which the average individual is unable to do without deliberate training. Inspiration normally requires
a personal connection and in 10 weeks, Trainees aren’t likely to receive that individual attention when there is an instructor to Trainee ratio of 1:20. Motivation can be measured based on individual
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