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 As I started to think about how to build cohesive organizations, I realized that one shoe truly does not fit all. There is no magic answer, no one perfect way to build a team, nor one road map on how to get there. Command at any level is a human and dynamic endeavor, and the climate and culture of one organization cannot be replicated by following a prescribed format
or a set of guidelines nicely packaged by a leader
in a different organization in another place and time. To put it bluntly, what you did in your last organization or series of organizations or what you have envisioned you want your organization to be will not guarantee you a successful command. I can’t give you the perfect answer, but I can provide some comments on common pitfalls and some recommendations or concepts to think about.
Before even taking command, friends, colleagues, and senior leaders are often more
than willing to offer advice on assessing your new organization. Comments and recommendations range from the unit’s training requirements, staff processes, overall readiness, and so on. Hands down, these are great and honest recommendations – lessons learned made by leaders who want to see
you be successful. Clearly, it would be best if you had a firm understanding of where the organization stands and the environment and culture it exists in before you can successfully command.
However, in all this advice, few of these same people will tell you to assess yourself. This might seem counterintuitive to some readers, and mistakenly some would argue: “Why? I know myself ” or “I was assessed by the Army to take command, what else do I need to know.” But this assessment is not about you and your ability to
lead and manage your new organization. The question is, which parts of your expertise does your command require?
You have just spent the last 18 years (or more) of your professional life gaining the skills and knowledge required for command. You have conceptualized the commander you want to be
- and, more importantly, what you aspire your organization to become and the legacy you want to leave behind. However, what your new organization needs now may not be the commander you have dreamed of being; your organization may need
an altogether different commander than you are prepared to be. Does this organization need a
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