by Jared Massie
Within the first few weeks of Battery command I knew I needed to get organized. I began to develop practical products that, looking back, are my greatest lessons learned. They focus on an organized weekly calendar, a ready-made unit training assessment, and a Command Supply Discipline Program (CSDP) smart card for my supply team. Through trial and error, the three products that took shape helped to streamline the flow of information for me and my team and are easily compatible across multiple echelons.
First, I created a unique outline in my Leader’s Book to articulate my priorities, understand my unit’s priorities, and to intentionally put “People First.” At meetings, I outlined my priorities and solicited my team’s priorities, which I immediately placed in the top left portion of my notebook. I dedicated a portion at the top of my calendar to deliberately focus on “People First.” I wrote people’s concerns, celebrations, ways to serve them, or resources to connect people to. In the center of my notebook was the week broken down by meetings, deadlines, training, and key events. On the fringes of the pages were personal notes and things that I needed to keep myself on track.
The second product that I found helpful was a Mission Essential Task List (METL) Crosswalk. This was very important for the First Sergeant and I to assess after training events and formulate plans to improve the organization. I would carry this product taped to the inside front cover of my notebook and could reference it any time. Having a unit assessment available at all times facilitated my ability to discuss our training progression, areas of emphasis, and requests for support to higher staff organizations or Commanders.
Lastly, I took a personal interest in the responsibility a Commander holds on unit supply actions. I wanted to divest excess property and furnish the Battery with the equipment they needed. My first Battery XO changed my perspective when she asked me “am I meeting your intent?” and “what are your priorities?” Her intentionality helped me see I needed to give the team something better to fight off of.
This supply list has four distinct categories: Purchases, Turn-ins, Shortages, and Working Projects.
As things were accomplished, we would cross through them and put a dollar amount on our success; at the end of 13 months we completed 190 transactions and moved over $2.2 million in property.
Over my time in Battery command these documents morphed into what they are now and I continue to utilize variations of them in broadening assignments and beyond. These tools helped me be a better leader because I felt organized and purposeful in my plans. My hope is that one other person would feel the same and develop the best version of similar products to make their time as a staff officer, commander, and leader meaningful and purposeful.
Captain Jared Massie is an active duty Field Artillery officer. He served at Fort Carson, Colorado and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is currently an Exercise Planner for the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. He is transitioning to Foreign Area Officer and will attend language training and Naval Postgraduate School.
Editor’s Note: In June, we asked our From the Green Notebook community a simple but profound question: What’s the one thing you wish you would have known before you started your last assignment? This week, we are pleased to share the nuggets of wisdom leaders have learned with the hope that it doesn’t have to be relearned by someone else the hard way.