What is “the profession?” It starts with our Army Values and is the essence of who we are. These values rely on a bedrock of mutual trust among Soldiers, leaders, Families, and the American people that we serve. The key component of our way ahead is remaining focused on the professionalism of our force.
The profession is why people around the world recognize the American Soldier as a symbol of the United States, just as they do the White House or the Washington Monument. Do your Soldiers know that Army ethics guide each individual professional’s performance? This is not a trivial or academic point. Both you and your Soldiers’ understanding of why and how the Army fights is a functional imperative. Your Soldiers need to understand and accept that they serve for a noble and right cause. Otherwise, they may doubt the value of their service or question their commitment to the Army Profession. Do you provide the purpose, direction, and motivation they need to remain committed to the profession?
If you move from day to day, and don’t provide and exhibit these things to your Soldiers – they will begin to doubt why they are doing what they’re doing. Every task that must be accomplished can be related to the profession! Even police call is a valid and necessary task that breeds not only pride in place of duty – but also one that is easily related to our profession. If you can count on your Soldiers to police your area, you can count on them to do countless other tasks that are tougher and more demanding. Inculcating these simple tasks leads to our Army professionals going beyond the legal obligations of their official duties and causes us and our Soldiers to become the very best professionals possible. This motivated aspiration is associated with honor – earning merits and recognition by the Army and their peers for what they aspired to and actually accomplish. This absolutely must come from Leadership!
If you’re not sure where to start teaching the profession, I recommend you use Army Doctrine Publication 1 as your guide. The ADP 1 gives us the overarching character of the Army Profession. Furthermore, it inculcates the “3 C’s” (character, commitment, and competence) that will help you and your Soldiers understand those deep-seated values that guide us in our day-to-day operations. The first step in teaching is learning. Do you believe that you are an Army professional? Do you provide the picture and actions of an Army professional every day? This is critical because if you allow disconnects between word and deed, gaps can be created between those values you articulate, and values you embody. When Leaders (and Soldiers) do not walk-the-talk in line with espoused Army beliefs and values, it creates confusion across the ranks and leads to dysfunctional and demoralizing behavior. Teaching the Army profession starts with you and trickles down to the lowest levels. But it absolutely must start with Leaders. Be the Leader that teaches, coaches, and instills the values that lead to the profession!
Lead, Train, Win!