News: Ariz. Army Guard leader focuses on command team development
Story by Sgt. Lauren Twigg
PHOENIX - More than 50 Arizona Army National Guard leaders gathered for the first-ever land component commander’s senior leader professional development training, at Papago Park Military Reservation, March 8-9.
Leaders from across the state participated in a forum-style discussion to get acquainted with Army Brig. Gen. William Hall, the new LCC who assumed command late last year, and to gain a better understanding of future missions and goals.
Just as a coach develops a depth of talent among starters and players on the bench, Hall said his goals are to build a strong foundation to ensure dynamic leadership as his team prepares for the starting lineup.
“This weekend was about mentoring leaders,” Hall said. “The adjutant general wants us to build a bench within the Arizona Army National Guard, and a part of that is active interaction with my subordinates.”
A key to Hall’s effort is establishing a sustainable, quarterly training program for brigade-level command teams to conduct professional development, set the tone for subordinate unit training, and establish training lines of effort that nest within TAG’s and LCC’s priorities.
“The intent is to address a full command team,” Hall said. “I see us adding our judge advocate group representatives and retention noncommissioned officers because they are a part of the command team as well. This way, we have that core group that receives the same message and there is a common understanding of what needs to be accomplished.”
The weekend kicked off with an Army physical fitness test early Saturday morning, which Hall said, falls in line with The Soldier’s Creed – affirming each member will be “physically and mentally tough.”
“Not only does it motivate me with my own physical fitness, taking the fitness test with my leaders gives us all the opportunity to demonstrate that we are disciplined and can maintain ourselves,” he said.
Afterward, the group discussed matters pertaining to personnel and program sustainment and improvement.
“Like any other organization, we have opportunities and challenges,” Hall said. “I want my leaders to identify and know how to actively take advantage of those opportunities and address those challenges. Generally, everything that we do should focus on improving readiness.”
“This event was a great opportunity for the LCC, senior staff, and command teams to develop trust in a collaborative environment,” said Army Col. John Hoefert, commander of the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “We were able to learn from one another by participating in a dialogue focused on different aspects of the LCC’s command philosophy. We need to continue these events to ensure we sustain effective communication and share ideas as we persist in serving a common purpose.”
Academic in nature, Hall issued reading assignments from the book “American Generalship” by Edgar F. Puryear.
“This is something I’ve done for the past 12 years or so, and it’s how I establish leader development for others. That’s how I add training that I otherwise cannot do with part-time Guard members, so they come in to the brief with some training already accomplished,” Hall said.
The reading material assigned, Hall said, mainly portrays stories from general officers, but lessons from the book can applied at all levels.
“The book teaches that we can develop leaders by enabling them and providing feedback,” Hall said. “Through the reading assignment and the discussions, a better frame of reference is provided on how we are going to do business, and how we are going to meet challenges.”
Hall said success is achieved when senior leaders develop habitual relationships that include routine dialogue to teach, coach and mentor each other about ethics, standards and organizational best practices.
“The training exceeded my expectations,” Hall said. “Two things came from this training: one was the amount of participation, and the other part was laughter, because sometimes I think we take ourselves too seriously; those two probably measured the outcome and the strength of this training the most.”