first thoughts: for me, as a student, topics are interesting based on how much i dont yet know times my estimate of the usefulness and/or satisfaction with the knowing, when it comes. I guesstimate future potential value and allocate focused attention to whatever enegery level i have available until i feel full, put it on the back burner to cook and move on: to either generate more energy or follow the flow to the next topic that comes to my attention. So as a learner I am motivated by a sense of needing to know that preceeds formal knowing. I am attracted to events where I stand to learn more about something i alreayd know about, or a new area that i think i need to consider. I dont have to see the endstate before i proceed
as a teacher then, i try to model the behavior of the ideal student i want to be: one who is self motivated to learn, based on the judgment of what is important, a practical sense of what i will do witht he knowledge in service to others.
i teach in a military college where students are assigned as pert of their career progression and so they cannot be approaching the material in the ideal way. we all make choices and live in a world of compromises. So now, as a teacher i believe i have an obligation to take their perspective into consideration and help to jointly create a a class that we all would seek to attend if we werent ordered to be here and thus try to transcend the constraints in pursuit of worthy knowledge in support of worthy goals. Right action in practice
from a project I am working on: describing why I believe Action Research is the right way to proceed with curriculum redesign projects.
The importance of using Action Research methodology. The broad professional consensus is that we need transformational changes to our curriculum in order to understand an Army Change Management System which is struggling to adapt to an increasingly dynamic world. What was once a formal, scientific process that was designed, controlled and maintained by experts who valued certainty above all must now become a flexible, adaptive robust system that is owned and operated by soldiers in the field as well as the technicians in the Pentagon. The system is clearly struggling to adapt now, and lacks a clear way forward. Muddling through is not going well. Our educational process must account for the new dynamism, and help us find our way out of the current maze.
To do that we must go beyond the formal, deliberate, change-resistant technical processes of yesterday. We can see the status quo failing faster everyday, and this is unacceptable. We must find a way to solicit, incorporate and accommodate the wisdom and insights of multiple points of view, and integrate them into a solution in a rigorous way, informed by expertise and by the people who must put the system into practice everyday in their units. We must be able to learn as we go, to be open to new experiences and perspectives, and to document our process and insights in order to fully understand our journey.
Action research is just such a method. It is a time tested discipline of reliably achieving transformational change that matters in the midst of complex human systems, in ways that strengthen an organization and it’s people by virtue of its commitment to democracy, engagement, multiple ways of knowing, and a focus on practical results. In its more than 60 years of practice, action research is known for focusing on achieving large scale transformational change in practical ways in a wide variety of settings, professions, organizations and cultures. By acknowledging that explicit and tacit knowledge is within the community of practice and that collectively we know more than we do individually, action research is an appropriate method.
Action research is ideally suited for a learning organization that is seeking to develop mature, reflective practical thinkers who will be engaged in solving wicked problems of all varieties in the field. Participating in the research stimulates and develops precisely these qualities in the stakeholders.
If this were a conventional problem, it would be well-defined, easily classified and have a number of reliable procedures available to apply as remedies. We might hire an expert consultant, to fill in the knowledge and procedural gaps required to efficiently satisfy the problem requirements and perhaps even to help guide us through a typical implementation. This is the usual remedy for all sorts of common problems, but we would not be well served with this approach on this situation. In fact, an over-realiance on outside expert, formal knowledge, and a willingness to impose and quickly implement outside solutions on a broad scale is what has helped bring us to this predicament where we see our existing systems incapable of managing the chaos and uncertainty of the world around us. Trying to solve this problem with traditional methods is likely to make the problem worse and waste crucial time.
By choosing an action research approach, we will improve our change management curriculum, gain insights into a method for solving other wicked problems, increase the capacity of our stakeholders to perform as members of problem solving teams in other settings, and offer insights to the proponents of the existing Army Change management Systems. The action research methodology supports and develops Army leadership values and improves our ability to meet our educational mission. Its academic rigor and documentation will meet our accreditation requirements.
Action research is the right methodology for this project.
finished my last paper for the doctorate for this term and have a full 2 weeks off before the next round of torture begins. the good news is that i was really stretched mentally this term, and am really pleased with the progress i am making and the insights i am gathering
as part of the outside reading for this term i have been slogging my way thru some philosophy of science and examining the practical implications of unwarranted belief in the truth of your market beliefs. I am looking at the case study of Long Term Capital Mgt and contrasting the behavior of Scholes and Merton at LTCM with that of Ed Thorp, who independently derived the Black-Scholes equations for options pricing but didnt explode as a hedge fund manager, because he understood the limits of the model and had some sense of the market as a complex adaptive system which is regularly discontinuous and non-normally distributed.
That makes all the difference. Plus he made it a practice to field test his ideas under extreme conditions, like trying to beat the dealer in Vegas, and so he had a practical application of his theories in practice which gave him an appreciation for the human dimension of applied science. As a rule of thumb thats a pretty good validation check. It’s what Robert, our most experienced trader in the chat room, calls the “Trader Quality Number” which is what you get after you take a system with a high System Quality Number, and then actually trade it under live conditions to see what you get
Individual Learning Memo Assignment (Max 4 pages): write a final memo on what you have learned about action research.
a. What do you take with you to the next part of your program? Summarize your takeaways as bullet points on the last pages of your memo. (1 page)
b. Define your contribution to 1) the field of AR (practices and concepts) and to management literature more generally. Be quite specific, cite the literature, introduce your contribution as if at the start of a journal article on your project.
My contributions to the field of AR practices and concepts and management literature in general
Introduction: It would be very hard to overstate the benefits accrued from the power of applying the scientific method to the human condition over the last 3 centuries. But, just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible. In fact it happens all the time, where claims of the objectively scientific ways of knowing are given preeminence in areas where the right to supremacy has not been earned. In many cases attempts to point out the limits of objectivism and technical, scientific rationality are met with the straw man argument that the questioner hates progress and would roll history back to the Dark Ages. It is entirely possible to concede the enormous benefits of science and the scientific method, and yet still observe that there a set of increasingly complex challenges that involve societies and human networks linked inextricably to the environment that do not lend themselves to reductionist, objective problem solving methods. In some cases, these wicked problems are driven by technology, and in some cases technology is a member of the supporting cast. It is clear that there is important problem solving work that needs to be done beyond the limits of scientific knowledge, a place where science is a respected point of view among many others that include multiple ways of knowing and accommodate the views of stakeholders who come from different points of view and with unique values and needs.
The rigor, objectivity, scalability and power of the application of the scientific method to Industrial Age production have had dramatic impacts on the quality of life and advancement of human progress in areas that are central to prosperity like agriculture, medicine, transportation, communication and manufacturing. The global growth of prosperity has raised standards of living as measured by per capita income, lifespan, eradication of diseases, and access to education. See Womack’s “The Machine That Changed The World” (2007ed.) for an example of how far we have come from Taylorism and yet still are faced with technologically induced sustainability challenges. The extraordinary growth has not been equally distributed, nor has it come without price. As technology has made the world a smaller place, and the consequences of human action are more widely and more immediately felt due to interconnectivity there is a growing sense of a need to consider how to live and grow in harmony. The combination of the promise of technology and the pervasive problems created by 2d and 3d order effects in human societies on our planet affords a rich environment for meaningful change where the status quo promises only greater harmful impacts. Addressing human sustainable needs through action research inside strong, science based cultures will be the focus of this chapter.
Specifically, I will be examining how the strong US Army culture can incorporate and institutionalize action research principles, practices and values in support of its mission to educate leaders and managers for success. The cognitive skills and emotional awareness that guide action research are in harmony with emerging Army leadership doctrine. That doctrine, however, has not been institutionalized yet in either units or schools, and the time is ripe to make progress in this direction.
Army culture characterized: It is true that from the outside, and at many times on the inside, Army culture can be characterized as male dominated, linear, scientific, hierarchical, action oriented, externally focused, protective of boundaries to the point of being insular, and reluctant to change, and by its nature adept in the use of force & violence and directive in nature. It wouldn’t be a shock to find these qualities listed in a sociology text as an operational definition of traditional masculine western culture. And yet, this is also a simplistic view of a culture. I suspect no culture can be so easily characterized, idealized and fit into neat boxes like that. Army culture also formally and informally values: initiative, humility, selfless service, speaking truth to power, listening, restraint, toleration of others, openness to new ideas, a tradition of service to others, and protecting the weak. The soldiers that constitute the forces come from a heritage of rugged individualism, and who have had a mistrust of formal authority and central authority. In short, there are elements of both yin and yang in Army culture. It is fair to say that it is a strong culture in that broad and local norms, once established, have much power and tradition.
Initial planning and inquiry: Based on this notion of strong culture, I began the AR effort with some assumptions that have not been proven through experience. This surprised me given my 25 years of experience in which being a judge of project merits and procedures has been a strength. I anticipated friction and developed contingency plans for a lot of resistance to our AR project. Instead of resistance though, I found enthusiastic acceptance for the opportunity of stakeholders to participate. The administration has been far more receptive than I expected, in part because there has been a growing awareness of a need to go beyond business as usual with respect to leader cognitive development. Johansson and Lindhult (2008) address the very real concerns about the tradeoff between the goals of the researcher and the client in any AR project.
In the chapter narrative, I would examine my 1st person learning, the 2d person learning of various groups of stakeholders, and the iterative nature of planning, action, and reflection to evolve the scope and methods of the project. My learning not only consisted of adapting my expectations, but a deliberate effort to change my personal communication methods and purposes that featured more cooperative engagement and mutual education instead of a tradition “marketing” approach to project management. Traditionally I might have had to stop the project and reorient deliberately in my own study and returned to engage later. In the AR project this adaptation and reorientation happened as part of normal business inside of stakeholder meetings. So there was some 1st and 2d person learning going on simultaneously. The eagerness and proficiency of the stakeholders in adopting AR practices and values is evidence of the power of 3d person AR. Kristiansen and Bloch-Poulson’s (2008) narrative of 1st person learning highlights the power and perhaps the saving grace of 1st person inquiry..
Action research meets a strong culture: I expected more resistance to the AR approach, since it represents a fundamentally different way of approaching problem solving. It doesn’t presume that we get problem identification and orientation and strategy sorted out up front and then execute a coordinated plan. It resists the idea that expertise resides in a single head and from a specific point of view. It is open to the possibility, and actually expects and seeks that our ongoing actions will lead to learnings that morph our team, our purpose and our outcome, and that we anticipate radical transformation to occur. These are values and outcomes that on the surface would challenge a strong culture based on values of certainty and control. And yet, because of the stated values of openness, democracy, honest inquiry and a commitment to shsared purpose AR actually aligns very strongly with many elements of Army culture which has always valued the insights of the lowest ranking private or lieutenant on the front lines where the real meaning of warfare is discovered. The AR project offered our administration a tested, systematic and insightful process of discovering the truth as we go, and the leadership was open to supporting the effort and expanding the scope as preliminary results came in.
The reflective learning in this part of the chapter would examine the relationships of strong cultures with AR principles. Looking for natural synergies and potential friction points and negotiating the pathways and practices of power is well addressed by Grant, Nelson and Mitchell (2008). Heron and Reason’s (2008) discussion of spirituality and charismatic learning is an example of the kind of AR that on first contact might have difficulty getting attention from a conventional organization concerned with maintaining a status quo.
More is better: AR makes the transformational pie bigger. The last bit of surprise for me was that I expected it to be more difficult to muster support for a broad set of initiatives that would emerge from multiple stakeholder inquiries, but in fact, since the stakeholders have shared a common central focus, their individual ideas have tended to be mutually supportive, and thus easier to implement as a bundle as compared to the traditional change management advice which suggests that you should narrow the scope and take change in smaller chunks, and build momentum linearly and sequentially. The momentum our project has, seems to be more like a wildfire with positive 2d and 3d order effects joining together. This has been a case of larger being better. In the same way that the power of a network is a power function of the number of nodes and connections, an AR project can gain leverage by incorporating more stakeholder groups. Surely there is an upper practical limit to what can be accomplished, however I have made limiting assumptions in the project before which proved to be unwarranted, so I am not prepared yet to put a cap on what can be possible when human ingenuity and positive spirit are harnessed in pursuit of worthy goals.
Schein (2008) has an excellent model and advice for approaching the client and the organization, which provides a framework for first actions, from which the development of future plans can spring, based on 3 dimensions: the source of the inquiry, the researcher’s degree of personal involvement, and the participant’s degree of personal involvement. Coupled with his insights into culture dynamics, this is an essential grounding for any researcher.
Ongoing contribution to AR in education: for me, a path is unfolding as the fog begins to lift. I am eager to do more work AR in an educational setting. I strongly believe that schools represent the infrastructure of the mind, and that by engaging schools, administration, teachers, students, community, and researchers, we have an opportunity to create learning that lasts and have it reflected in fundamental structural infrastructure in terms of process, standards of practice, in the classroom and beyond. The literature of AR in education seems mostly to take the form of teachers using 1st person AR to improve their own practice. I am thinking of Jack Whitehead and his circle of influence; they have some presence on YouTube for instance. The Levin and Greenwood (2008) article from the Handbook seems like a call to action to re-vitalize the 2d and 3d person inquiries within education.
Another powerful aspect of AR in the Army classroom is the effect of empowering student voices in their own presentational knowledge. The liberating effect has important consequences for officers who will turn around and lead large units of soldiers. It would be natural to expect them to be better listeners and inquirers when they are in positions of power when they have seen the benefits of engagement and democracy when in a traditionally subordinate role of studenmt in a classroom. This phenomenon was well described by Chowns (2008) in her work with the children of terminally ill parents.
In the world of educational best practices in learning organizations and schools in particular, Senge’s (2001) work on Learning Organizations and his 5th Discipline Handbook “Schools That Learn”, is of interest because his reputation as a thought leader gives him access to the mind space of decision makers in many disciplines. AR in name is conspicuously absent from the index and table of contents, although a quick scan finds a number of AR-like topics and concepts in the mix of descriptions of and prescriptions for best practices. Senge (2001) (p.362) shows a nice “systems over time” diagram that shows the detrimental effect of increased resourcing of quick fixes at the expense of fundamental change and capacity building which leads to predictable decreased performance AND loss of capacity.
To me, any truly revolutionary, evolutionary attitude/approach that seeks to promote long term, infrastructure based change-that-lasts must engage education or we’ll always be trying to “fix things on the margin”, dealing with the short comings that our non-evolved, unconscious education system produces. Levin and Greenwood’s (2008) challenge the AR community to address educational infrastructure in their call to action for more AR in the university.
An argument against AR, especially in education, is that it can seem to represent a longer term commitment in time and other resources as compared to hiring/buying a commercial off the shelf expert/solution. Only by examining “systems over time” impacts do you appreciate the potential cost-effectiveness of an AR solution, a cost-effectiveness that is applied to meaningful results in problems that matter.
These are the things that have most affected me this term and have caused behavioral change that seems to be lasting, which for me is an operational definition of learning.
1. The 4 ways of knowing: experiential, presentational, propositional, practical. I see these now more explicitly in lessons I am preparing and constructing in the college. I evaluate claims for knowledge on the basis of this framework. I look for opportunities to integrate all 4 in all lessons. I have introduced the idea into our faculty development program, since there is synergy with our stated educational philosophy.
2. Unproductive communication exercise: a useful set of techniques to formally and systematically reflect on problem areas. This is a tough area for me as a generally effective communicator, to spend time and effort and re-work what comes so easily for me. But we know in business for example you get great value by expanding your strengths not just addressing weaknesses. Has made me more conscious of my communication methods and frameworks.
3. The Leadership Development Profile: Torbert’s intriguing and useful model for engaging organizations in transformation on a grand scale through self-awareness and a calibrate sense of what’s possible and anticipating friction points. I haven’t been able to apply it yet but I can see how powerful it will be inside my college, because it provides an organizational scaffolding around work we are already doing with individual leader transformation.
4. Simultaneous 1st, 2d, and 3d person inquiry: I appreciated from the paired assignments, supplemented by the readings that there can be simultaneous learning loops in practice. My exposure to traditional change management techniques has been much more sequential and single task focused. There is a lot of momentum for change that can be generated when approached on multiple paths simultaneously.
5. Transparency in research in action: It has been very liberating to approach the AR project from an explicitly transparent perspective, with my needs, values and goals up front, and encourage the stakeholders (who are at first invited to be stakeholders) to do the same to find the maximum area of common interest to exploit. Transparency in education has been a new topic introduced by our Commandant and it matches up well with the values of AR: democracy, empowerment, and building capacity among others.
6. Systems Thinking: The Ray Ison article in the handbook is a treasure of clarity and conciseness, and comes along right when I need it to be able to engage our developers with generating the requirements for leaders cognitive skills, many of which are sensed to be from the field of systems thinking.
7. Variety of experience and perspective, linked by common framework: On 2d and 3d readings and after reflection I have come to value the sharing of different perspectives and experiences contained in the Handbook. There are many insights and techniques that I initially set aside as non-relevant to me, but after adopting a wider perspective and accepting that in the future I may very well be partnering with people for whom those insights and techniques may have major value, I have come to appreciate the broadening of my horizons.
8. Iterative Learning & Doing: This could also read Learning by Doing, and Doing the Learning, since they are happening simultaneously and incorporate both the action and research components of the discipline. In the act of writing this bullet, this additional meaning of Action Research crystallized, since I am now seeing that regardless of which “phase” of the project you are in, you never stop doing research and you never stop acting on your knowledge.
9. Potential for AR in Education: Covered at greater length in the preceding pages, but it is clear to me that since infrastructure is a necessary part of learning/change that lasts, that AR must be a part of the education system, or we will continually be producing the kinds of wicked messes that require AR to address in the future. Unless AR is somehow integrated into our “fire prevention” in the ways people learn to think and work and share together, then AR will be focusing on “fire fighting” after the initial damage has been done.
10. Practicality: for all the concern I initially had about the field of Ar being soft and fuzzy, filled with the kind of breathless fervor I negatively associate with true believers, I m seeing more and more the practicality of the philosophy, the integrity of the commitment to values I support, and the practicality of its methods and purposes inside my own work and life environment. It resonates with other experiences I have had, positive and negative, in the change management, quality and systems movements and I now see it as a practical discipline for achieving important change that lasts.
Chowns, G. (2008). No- you don’t know how we feel. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp 562-572). London, Sage Publications, Ltd.
Grant, J., Nelson, G., & Mitchell, T. (2008). Negotiating the challenges of participatory action research: Relationships, power, participation, change and credibility. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp 589-601). London, Sage Publications, Ltd.
Heron, J. & Lahood, G. (2008). Charismatic inquiry in concert: Action research in the realm of “the Between”. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp 439-449). London, Sage Publications, Ltd.
Johansson, A., & Lindhult, E. (2008). Emancipation or workability?. Action Research, 6(1), 95-115.
Kristiansen, M. & Bloch-Poulson, J. (2008). Working with “Not Knowing”, amid power dynamics among managers. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp 463-472). London, Sage Publications, Ltd.
Levin, M.& Greenwood, D. (2008). The future of universities: Action research. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp 211-226). London, Sage Publications, Ltd.
Schein, E, (2008). Clinical inquiry/research. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp 265-279). London, Sage Publications, Ltd.
Senge, P., Cambron-McCabe, N, Lucas, T., Smith, B., Dutton, J. & Kleiner, A. (2001). Schools that learn: A Fifth Discipline fieldbook for educators, parents, and everyone who cares about education(5th ed). New York. Doubleday.
Torbert,W. & Taylor, S. (2008). Action inquiry: Interweaving multiple qualities of attention for timely action. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp 239-251). London, Sage Publications, Ltd.
Womack, J., Jones, D., & Roos, D. (2007). The machine that changed the world: The story of lean production- Toyota’s secret weapon in the global car wars that is revolutionizing world industry. New York. Simon & Schuster, Inc.
There is a world of difference, all you need really, in the difference between these 2 statements: the market IS efficient and the market becomes efficient. It’s the difference between a state of being and a state of becoming (a state of action). A market moving towards efficient price levels is a market in motion, a market that can be detected and traded.
If the market IS efficient, then there is no edge. It is already at the precise and proper price for current information. If the market is becoming efficient, then we are in a state of action with the market and price seeking to move in the straightest line to the new proper price. And in that movement, an edge is born.
It remains to be asked then, under what conditions is there a tradeable edge for an individual in the relentless drive to the new proper price?
I think we need to find those moments and targets where the greatest emotion and the greatest extremes can be found. Those areas have to be the place where irrationality is greatest. Irrationality is the other side of the coin from efficiency, which has the iron logic of dispassionate calculation driving it. Irrationality is a relative condition and can be found where emotions are greatest. When we have Obama as president, surely that’s a signal that we are in unusual political and economic situation, one in which new definitions of normal are sure to arise. It is in this transition state that a new efficiency will be born, and the market will move to that new level.
Pick your time frame, and look for price performance that is the most extreme for a target relative to itself , relative to its peer group and relative to the market. Consider the following idea. Those most extreme moments are a signal for a probable residual wave of reaction. You will always be surprised by market moves if you are in the position. If you want a safer and more reliable movement, wait for the turning point of the move at the end of the exhaustion, the moment of pausing and hesitating when the balance of power is preparing to shift. Will you always get it right? No, you will never get it right, or at least that is the way to approach it. But thru a sequence of carefully measured step-wise entries, you stand to make reasonable trades in short periods of time when you have the edge.
This style of trading will never hit the homerun, but it will give you a risk-measured way of navigating chaotic markets. This strategy always misses the first move, it is prepared for the 2d and 3d move. Sometimes herd leaders run off a cliff. Dont be that guy. Be the 2d mouse.
And once in a while you WILL hit a homerun. Just be surprised by it, don’t count on it.
2. Based on this notion of strong culture, I began the AR effort with some assumptions that have not been proven through experience, which surprised me given my 25 years of experience in which being a judge of project merits and procedures has been a strength. I anticipated and developed contingency plans for a lot of resistance to our AR project, but have discovered not only no resistance but enthusiastic acceptance for the opportunity of stakeholders to participate. The administration has been far more receptive than I expected, in part because there has been a growing awareness of a need to go beyond business as usual with respect to leader cognitive development.
3. A draft chapter then would examine the relationship of culture and AR, and the dynamic of 1st person AR as I would review how I formed certain assumptions and found them invalid and then through reflection was able to adjust and adapt the plan basically as we went along. Traditionally I might have had to stop the project and reorient deliberately in my own study and returned to engage later. In the AR project this adaptation and reorientation happened as part of normal business inside of stakeholder meetings. So there was some 1st and 2d person learning going on simultaneously. The eagerness and proficiency of the stakeholders in adopting AR practices and values is evidence of the power of 3d person AR.
4. The last bit of surprise for me was that I expected it to be more difficult to muster support for a broad set of initiatives that would emerge from multiple stakeholder inquiries, but in fact, since the stakeholders have shared a common central focus, their individual ideas have tended to be mutually supportive, and thus easier to implement as a bundle as compared to the traditional change mgt advice which suggests that you should narrow the scope and take change in smaller chunks, and build momentum linearly and sequentially. The momentum our project has seems to be more like a wildfire with positive 2d and 3d order effects joining together. This has been a case of larger being better. Am still thinking my way through this reflection.
Blogging for education: A Reflection on Ch 5, TRADOC Pam 525-3-7: The US Army Concept for the Human Dimension
Chapter 5, TRADOC Pam 525-3-7: The US Army Concept for the Human Dimension in FSO addresses The Cognitive Component- Training and Educating Soldiers. Among many insights in the excellent discussion, is the challenge to find creative ways to leverage digital technology in support of educational aims, particularly with a Millenial generation that is adept with all things digital.
Emerging from a discussion of the potential directions this blog may take are the following potential educational benefits with respect to furthering our appreciation for F100 and Army Change Management. Upon first review, all of these potentials seem suitable, feasible and acceptable to me (an important force management mental model for evaluating potential programs and/or changes) as we consider the T (Training) and L (Leadership) domains in the DOTMLPF construct (another important mental model for assessing and analyzing the magnitude and dimensions of change generated by a given proposal).
In a roundtable discussion with a number of very experienced TASS Bn instructors (minimum 5 years on the platform), the use and applications for this blog were very favorably received. In fact they brainstormed a number of these ideas as we considered ways to help them in one of their most challenging instructional challenges: teaching force management amidst all their other requirements.
and so, the first top 10 potentials for this blog:
1. we might meet the stratcom requirement for blogging, article writing;
2. we serve the educational objective of increasing the relevance of force mgt in our officers minds
3. we create an educational resource that becomes available for follow on classes in our building
4. we help the TASS Bns to tap into writings, essays, commentary, dialectic that helps them develop context and practical examples as they wrestle with a difficult subject matter that they are not expert in. Lets them connect their student questions with to evolving FAQ and the “mother ship” of F100 back here if needed.
5. we create a resource that is available for reach back from officer graduates
6. we ratchet up our learning (we are not starting each year at ground zero)
7. we have a growing body of knowledge on force management practice (as opposed to formal theory and principles) that is found nowhere else on the web or in the world: force management for non-FA 50s
8. this may actually turn into an ST supplement or simply become the Student Text for F100, but a better version because it is digital, cheap, flexible, cheap, dynamic, indexed, searchable, dynamic, cheap, and available instantly to all classrooms.
9. We could be publishing 1-2 page practical summaries of the top 20 standards in support of our ELOs, which are even more succinct “need to know” takeaways than those found in the force management primers (which are geared to FA 50 and go much deeper than we need or can apply in most cases)
10. We provide a venue for more professional writing from both faculty and officer students. Example: ie the satellites, with their wealth of FA 50 and slightly different demographic might be able to apply the knowledge, experience and wisdom of their student writings and faculty expertise to drive us higher
11. etc (must leave some room for others)
is there any reason for these 2 guys not to get together for a run in 2012? That would be a match made in heaven
As part of my doctoral research at Colorado Tech, I am engaged in a prototype Action Research inquiry into our change managemnet curriculum. One of the outcomes of the preliminary rounds of action-feedback-reflection-planning, was the establishment of a blog that would serve multiple purposes in connecting various stakeholder groups and their needs to an emerging community of practice. here are my more detailed notes on how that’s been going so far.
Here is one of the positive consequences of our project already. It emerged from stakeholder discussions that we needed ways of expanding the resource base for our curriculum and to have outreach to graduates and the wider professional community. Our students wanted a place to discuss with people from other classes. Our instructors wanted access to readings, ideas and discussions to supplement our formal readings and to help keep the discussions fresh. Instructors at remote sites across the country needed a way to get immediately connected with the most current thinking and issues in an area where they are almost never professional experts. So, after some collective brainstorming, we established a blog on our command homepage as a way to meet those desires.
Our faculty technicians agreed to help me “seed” the blog with some started essays that are representative of the kinds of things we are looking for (blogging by example), and the text below is the first “roll-out” announcement letting the wider community know we are open for business at the Blog of Log.
Initial results: we are already getting over 100 hits a day, and have generated some student questions. I used the blog as a resource in the classroom in a recent faculty certification course to provide a rapid reading and an experiential learning moment. I had a requirement to demonstrate my technique in a 30 minute class (so that i can be certified to teach for another 5 years without supervision). Since I had as my “students”, many remote site faculty present for their certification, I turned it into a mini-cooperative inquiry to solicit their stated needs and goals as instructors of our lessons back at their home station. We hit it out of the park, and they are prepared to use the blog in their classroom, and as a portal to connect to the “mother ship” of force management curriculum theory and practice at our college.
The project is already past the tipping point and has unstoppable momentum. Pandora has opened the box and now we shall learn what that means on down the road.
Below is the text of the Blog of Log “rollout” announcement
At the CAC Blog homepage, you will find the bright, shiny, new “The Blog of Log” (tell your friends). http://usacac.leavenworth.army.mil/BLOG/blogs/dlro/default.aspx
Our initial stated purpose:
The Department of Logistics and Resource operations is the proponent at CGSC for F100, currently an 18 hour block of instruction that examines DoD and Army Force Management. It is typically seen as one of the most technical, challenging and difficult of the blocks in the Core Curriculum because officers have not seen their connection to the process so far in their career in the Operating Force. We want to make the case that at the field grade level, a professional understanding of how your organization creates an Army, and performs all of the critical Title 10 functions is a necessary part of your education. The initial purpose of this blog is to help you make the connection between your personal experiences with Army change in the field and the operating principles of the Generating Force. We are open to the possibility of the blog going wherever it needs to go to improve the relevance and your understanding of this important mission area.
Bottom line? We are looking for ways to help our officers see the value and relevance of force management now, while they are here, rather than 1-2 years from now when they typically realize why we include force management in the course. This blog can serve as an important resource for classroom prep and professional discussion that goes beyond the boundaries of the classroom walls.
Some highlights already:
With a new administration, ‘tis the season” for significant security and defense policy recommendations, and we have a number of short essays on the topic including:
A reflection on the Army’s first serious consideration of going to a Brigade based Army in 1995-1996, and the insider politics that led to a retaining the Division-centric structure. A conservative decision at the time, it drove us to making extraordinary force structure changes in the middle of a war, forced by OPTEMPO considerations to re-organize in the middle of a fire fight.
In The Fallacy of Technical Rationality , Dr Chris Paparone discusses the conceptual issues that are inevitable based on the use of our rational, analytic planning model, which values certainty and control, in an complex, adaptive system. He argues that the mismatch between the situation and our response will reliably generate problems in the future. http://usacac.leavenworth.army.mil/BLOG/blogs/dlro/archive/2008/12/05/the-fallacy-of-technical-rationality.aspx
The most recent posting comes from MAJ Eric Hollister who examines the strategy and force structure recommendations of Andrew Krepinovich. His essay is a model of analysis and thoughtful critical thinking, as he itemizes a number of serious shortcomings and disconnects in Krepinovich’s reasoning. His essay is at: http://usacac.leavenworth.army.mil/BLOG/blogs/dlro/archive/2008/12/11/flaws-in-csba-report-quot-an-army-at-the-crossroads-quot.aspx
I was grazing through our local blogs at the college and came acoss this posting that described a 2 day leadership seminar that our college (US Army Command & General Staff College) hosted for leaders and members of the local community. Among other insights, there was a fruitful dialogue on the challenges, insights and techniques of both civlian and military leadershgip styles and techniques.
Iwas reminded by the posting that we don’t have to frame “leadership” as something that we “do” to people as if they are objects at a distance to act upon. It can be a quality that emerges out of a relationship between autonomous conscious beings that respect each other and listen to each other, and create meaning from the union of their experiences and points of view, and togther craft an agreement about what to value and what to do next in pursuit of worthy goals.
I am coming around to see that education can be like that as well, although it is not natural for me to be a good listener, since I am quite sure I always am near to the correct answer in any given problem setting. I am appreciating more than ever how education, especially in our CGSC classrooms, can be an emergent quality of people who are jointly inquiring into matters of consequence.