Page 9 - Jackson Journal
P. 9

                  Army’s way forward with assessments. Nonetheless, the purpose of this article is to illuminate the
what, why, and how behind the Army’s focus on assessments and the expected or desired outcomes. Because the Army wants to get better at assessing potential and fitness for command, we need
to make every effort to help leaders (People) understand the why, what, and how behind this approach.
Assessments or assessing leaders in the U.S. Army isn’t new. We consider using tools such
as counseling, evaluations, boards, fitness tests, etc. However, at the key levels of command, battalion, and brigade, the Army realized that maybe our best leaders could not be selected or afforded the opportunity to serve in these pivotal levels of command. One could argue that all echelons of command and the associated senior Non-Commissioned Officer roles are pivotal. Fundamentally, I agree.
Nonetheless, I will use the current development of the Battalion Commander Assessment Program (BCAP), the Colonels Command Assessment Program (CCAP), and the program in the pilot phase for senior NCOs Sergeant Major Assessment Program (SMAP) as backdrops for context. In the coming years, assessments will start earlier in the careers for both officers and NCOs alike. Therefore, leaders must understand the why now!
All command levels are equally important for our enterprise, but the Army has deemed it most critical to “screen in” those selected for battalion and brigade echelons. This “screen in” could
be, and possibly will be, applied in the future at multiple echelons of command for both officers and NCOs. But what are we screening for? Published documentation for both BCAP and CCAP highlights “screens for toxicity and sub-par physical and cognitive performance” as the bottom-line short answer.
This overall assessment approach is a way to remove biases in our selection process based on gender, race, branch, unit, or military experience. Furthermore, if done properly and consistently, assessments “serve as the gateway to the evaluation of strategic leadership and career-long personal
development.” As the added benefit, the outcome of “creating more confident and self-aware officers” [leaders] leads to establishing, enforcing, and maintaining organizational climates of dignity and respect while remaining true to the importance
of physical fitness and height/weight standards required of individual and unit readiness to deploy, fight, and win when called.
As the saying goes, “past performance is
not a predictor of future potential” remains a fundamentally true statement. As part of our Stewardship of the Army Profession series of reading and discussion at Fort Jackson, we know that “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” The book of this same title by Marshall Goldsmith helped our Fort Jackson leaders to realize that
we “get” to certain levels of command or other positions “because” of certain things and “despite” certain things. Mostly, these “things” are singularly based on an individual’s character, personal and professional development.
Therefore, the why behind assessments is to ensure that we highlight and illuminate where leaders are doing well or poorly in multiple areas of their developmental experience in time for them to reflect, adjust, and/or adapt as they progress in time and positions of responsibility. More importantly, developing the genuine desire for leaders to recognize and honestly assess these things for themselves and develop individual actions to sustain and improve their self-development is a critical outcome for leaders that our Army needs.
Using Assessments
 Jackson Journal 9

   7   8   9   10   11