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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,143
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2018, 06:37:34 PM »

Second bit of advice:  recognize and employ the time tested principles of vicarious learning when looking at the performance of other units and other volunteer CAP Commanders. A.k.a. "Don't Be That Guy", or conversely, "What do you see that you want to emulate"? 


So, when you hear horror stories about how screwed up CAP is/has been - that may indeed have happened (take that with a grain of salt) but don't accept the dysfunctional as NORMATIVE.  We should refuse to accept the piss poorly planned and the unsupervised events, the unaccountable and the ego driven behaviors, and the incidents of abuse or fraud (punished or not) as NORMAL. As they say about the cycle of abuse: some one has to make the decision to stop the cycle. Will it be you and I?


V/r
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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,143
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2018, 06:45:04 PM »


Third bit of advice:

Don't forget that we're all unpaid volunteer amateurs (even when some of us are professionals in other, related fields) with CAP hopefully as a cooperative unpaid collective effort.  That leads into a Commanders Guidance that I came up with (short, simple, easily remembered) that I've been pushing for about 15 - 20 years through my various commands:

Keep your priorities straight:  put CAP or other volunteer work after you prioritize your faith, your family, and your jobs (or school, for cadets).

See 1 Timothy 3, as great guidance on being a steward/servant leader. If you and I have problems there... we need to pass on CAP leadership and set our own houses in order, and only then return to service as Commanders.


R/s,
Spam

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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,533

« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2018, 03:00:30 PM »

I can't believe no one has suggested this to the OP yet (or my eye surgeries last year really are letting me down in not seeing it): 

Strongly suggest that you sign up for and attend your next Wing level Unit Commanders Course (UCC). This, in my experience is the number one most useful tool to assist new unit CO's.  I strongly suggest that you do so in person, vice through the online backup option, since one of the major benefits of UCC is the building of supportive peer to peer links between the students, as well as more clear and direct communication between the students (prospective or new Commanders) and their cadre (who are usually Wing Commanders, Vice Commanders, or prior Wing/CCs themselves).

As a fallback, I suggest attending a UCC put on by a neighboring Wing as the next best option, and the online course as a third best option.

The UCC is open to current or prospective unit commanders and their deputies (i.e. Deputy CC/Cadets, Deputy CC/Seniors). I've taught at several, and am teaching one this weekend with my boss (I'm currently a Wing/CV). We did one in January, one this weekend in August, and will have another down south in our state later this fall (take Mo to the Mountain).


R/s
Spam

My opinion, for whatever value anyone plops it at, is that if you're first professional development class is UCC, then you're in way over your head. There's going to be a lot of subject matter that is going to be a shotgun blast if this is your first time hearing these words (i.e., "Finance," "Budget," "Inspector General," "Subordinate Unit Inspection," etc) in the sense that CAP uses them.

If the very first class you take in CAP is "How to run a squadron," you skipped some steps in your training and experience curriculum.

This isn't to say it can't be done. It's been done before. It will be done again. And it will work sometimes. But in most cases, the "new commanders" I have met give you that panic statement of "Wow, I guess I don't know what I signed up for " (or some variation).

Everyone needs a leg up at some point. But when do you reach out for guidance vs. reaching out for help because you can't handle the challenge, and it's just too much?

And this is not at all to suggest "Don't do it!" But understand that, at this point, it's not play time or an 'I'll figure it out as I go' thing. There will be plenty to learn on-the-job. But the basics need to be down and practiced before moving to the next phase of 'running the show.'

You best have a vision and intent prepared, and you need to go over that with your senior staff. You need to be ready to give them guidance on how to execute to your intent and keep the mission focused. The honeymoon may be short lived, but mission first. You have a squadron to run.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,260

« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2018, 03:25:15 PM »

See 1 Timothy 3, as great guidance on being a steward/servant leader.

Was going to make a smartypants comment, but verse 6, regardless of the edition, should be included
on the Form 27.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 03:28:50 PM by Eclipse » Logged


Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,143
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2018, 03:48:04 PM »

I can't believe no one has suggested this to the OP yet (or my eye surgeries last year really are letting me down in not seeing it): 

Strongly suggest that you sign up for and attend your next Wing level Unit Commanders Course (UCC). This, in my experience is the number one most useful tool to assist new unit CO's.  I strongly suggest that you do so in person, vice through the online backup option, since one of the major benefits of UCC is the building of supportive peer to peer links between the students, as well as more clear and direct communication between the students (prospective or new Commanders) and their cadre (who are usually Wing Commanders, Vice Commanders, or prior Wing/CCs themselves).

As a fallback, I suggest attending a UCC put on by a neighboring Wing as the next best option, and the online course as a third best option.

The UCC is open to current or prospective unit commanders and their deputies (i.e. Deputy CC/Cadets, Deputy CC/Seniors). I've taught at several, and am teaching one this weekend with my boss (I'm currently a Wing/CV). We did one in January, one this weekend in August, and will have another down south in our state later this fall (take Mo to the Mountain).


R/s
Spam

My opinion, for whatever value anyone plops it at, is that if you're first professional development class is UCC, then you're in way over your head. There's going to be a lot of subject matter that is going to be a shotgun blast if this is your first time hearing these words (i.e., "Finance," "Budget," "Inspector General," "Subordinate Unit Inspection," etc) in the sense that CAP uses them.

If the very first class you take in CAP is "How to run a squadron," you skipped some steps in your training and experience curriculum.

This isn't to say it can't be done. It's been done before. It will be done again. And it will work sometimes. But in most cases, the "new commanders" I have met give you that panic statement of "Wow, I guess I don't know what I signed up for " (or some variation).

Everyone needs a leg up at some point. But when do you reach out for guidance vs. reaching out for help because you can't handle the challenge, and it's just too much?

And this is not at all to suggest "Don't do it!" But understand that, at this point, it's not play time or an 'I'll figure it out as I go' thing. There will be plenty to learn on-the-job. But the basics need to be down and practiced before moving to the next phase of 'running the show.'

You best have a vision and intent prepared, and you need to go over that with your senior staff. You need to be ready to give them guidance on how to execute to your intent and keep the mission focused. The honeymoon may be short lived, but mission first. You have a squadron to run.

Hi SkyHornet.

I hear your valid points, but I was responding to Richard (the OP) who stated that he was in fact the designated new CO (ready or not, here he comes!), that he has former member experience, and has a career as a senior USAF NCO almost behind him. That may or may not be typical of new command appointments in his AO - can't say. That decision and the associated risk management is his chain's to own. I would concur that personnel need to (ideally) complete SLS and CLC and have extensive experience in CAP prior to the UCC. However, that may not work "due to the exigencies of the service".  NHQ even has two different prerequisites listed, for the online and blended versions (see https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/members/cap-university/2017ucc/:

Online Unit Commanders Course format = "Prospective students (senior members who have completed Level I and SLS) apply online"

Blended Unit Commanders Course format = "Students (senior members who have completed Level II unless waived by the wing commander) who are planning to go to the blended course must apply..."

FYSA, everyone, here's the link to check for upcoming UCCs:  https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/members/cap-university/course-schedules/unit-commanders-course-ucc/


These are often the hands we are dealt, and we do the best we can to help equip our teammates.


R/w
Spam


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RiChArD7032
Recruit

Posts: 43
Unit: MER-DE-025

« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2018, 01:02:22 PM »

I can't believe no one has suggested this to the OP yet (or my eye surgeries last year really are letting me down in not seeing it): 

Strongly suggest that you sign up for and attend your next Wing level Unit Commanders Course (UCC). This, in my experience is the number one most useful tool to assist new unit CO's.  I strongly suggest that you do so in person, vice through the online backup option, since one of the major benefits of UCC is the building of supportive peer to peer links between the students, as well as more clear and direct communication between the students (prospective or new Commanders) and their cadre (who are usually Wing Commanders, Vice Commanders, or prior Wing/CCs themselves).

As a fallback, I suggest attending a UCC put on by a neighboring Wing as the next best option, and the online course as a third best option.

The UCC is open to current or prospective unit commanders and their deputies (i.e. Deputy CC/Cadets, Deputy CC/Seniors). I've taught at several, and am teaching one this weekend with my boss (I'm currently a Wing/CV). We did one in January, one this weekend in August, and will have another down south in our state later this fall (take Mo to the Mountain).


R/s
Spam

My opinion, for whatever value anyone plops it at, is that if you're first professional development class is UCC, then you're in way over your head. There's going to be a lot of subject matter that is going to be a shotgun blast if this is your first time hearing these words (i.e., "Finance," "Budget," "Inspector General," "Subordinate Unit Inspection," etc) in the sense that CAP uses them.

If the very first class you take in CAP is "How to run a squadron," you skipped some steps in your training and experience curriculum.

This isn't to say it can't be done. It's been done before. It will be done again. And it will work sometimes. But in most cases, the "new commanders" I have met give you that panic statement of "Wow, I guess I don't know what I signed up for " (or some variation).

Everyone needs a leg up at some point. But when do you reach out for guidance vs. reaching out for help because you can't handle the challenge, and it's just too much?

And this is not at all to suggest "Don't do it!" But understand that, at this point, it's not play time or an 'I'll figure it out as I go' thing. There will be plenty to learn on-the-job. But the basics need to be down and practiced before moving to the next phase of 'running the show.'

You best have a vision and intent prepared, and you need to go over that with your senior staff. You need to be ready to give them guidance on how to execute to your intent and keep the mission focused. The honeymoon may be short lived, but mission first. You have a squadron to run.

All those things you mentioned...I do know a lot about them from my USAF career.  So, I think that CAP won't be any more stringent than what the AF is regarding budget, SUI's and the like.  I appreciate your advice as well.
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THRAWN
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,892

« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2018, 01:58:31 PM »

The biggest thing is to use your experience, and that of your staff. Knowing your unit, and the people in it, you have one of the best staffs in the wing, and probably in the region. Use that knowledge.

You've been a supervisor, so you know how to lead, how to motivate people, and most importantly, how to communicate effectively. Communicate effectively. Know exactly what you're talking about, especially when it comes to adverse personnel actions. Use your network. Every single commander has been in your position before and most have learned some valuable lessons and some will be willing to share those lessons.
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
AFRCC SMC 10-97
NSS ISC 05-00
USAF SOS 2000
USAF ACSC 2011
US NWC 2016
Shawn W.
Member

Posts: 95

« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2018, 10:17:12 PM »

As an aspiring Squadron Commander, there is a lot of helpful tips here. As I prepare for Command, I also have a few things that so far have been helping me grow and understand:

1. The Commander asked me if I would be his Deputy for Seniors. I accepted. I had a sit down with the Commander following my acceptance and told him up front that I planned on being our unit's next Commander. That said, I asked the commander to give me permissions in eservices that I may not have necessarily had as the CDS. This allows me to search and explores eservices (carefully) from a Commander's perspective. I have a better understanding today of the command module and what the Commander sees.

2. Do your homework and get into the regs. If this sounds like a monotonous task; thatís because it is, but you will thank yourself later.

3. Ask questions. I donít know what kind of network you have; I am blessed and fortunate to know members that have held some positions that are pretty high up in the Wing perspective. I pick their brain frequently and they are happy to answer my questions. If you have connections like this, use it.

4. Lately I have been referencing and revisiting Professional Development Classes that I have had throughout my history in CAP. Again this is something that is working for me.. YMMV.

5. Someone mentioned this earlier. Be sure you bring on good support. Having good Deputy Commanders and staff really makes a difference. I know in some Squadrons you may not have many choices, so pick from the best and put them in key roles.

6. Again with communication. I know this was brought up, but it is imperative.  Donít just limit communication to emails and maybe occasional phone calls when needed. (I am speaking from the Senior side strictly now.) With my Squadron Senior Members, I use email, phone calls, texting, FB messenger depending on the member and what the topic is (use good judgement). I also make it a point to sit down face to face with Senior Members.

7. Give your people purpose. There is nothing worse in a volunteer organization than a person who feels about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
8. Listen to what your people are telling you but also make sure you take a moment to research so that you can make good informed decisions.

9. Trust but verify.

10. Donít micromanage.
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Hawk200
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,629

« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2018, 08:15:01 AM »

Lead from the front. That means stay in front, don't be turning around to do their jobs (unless they ask for help.)

A commander maintains the unit, they don't revamp it.

Be open to discussion. I wanted someone as a deputy that had some different views on things. I figured that if we agree on things, we're either doing the right thing, or about to do something very wrong. Analyze accordingly.

When you take the job, make sure you are kept informed on what events/activities/happenings occur when you're not there. There should never be any kind of event that you're not aware of. This isn't micromanaging, you are responsible for things your unit does.

Maintain yourself. Work on your own professional development, even while you're a commander. You benefit yourself, and set an example.
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Shawn W.
Member

Posts: 95

« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2018, 08:39:48 PM »

Lead from the front. That means stay in front, don't be turning around to do their jobs (unless they ask for help.)

A commander maintains the unit, they don't revamp it.

Be open to discussion. I wanted someone as a deputy that had some different views on things. I figured that if we agree on things, we're either doing the right thing, or about to do something very wrong. Analyze accordingly.

When you take the job, make sure you are kept informed on what events/activities/happenings occur when you're not there. There should never be any kind of event that you're not aware of. This isn't micromanaging, you are responsible for things your unit does.

Maintain yourself. Work on your own professional development, even while you're a commander. You benefit yourself, and set an example.


+1
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,533

« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2018, 09:22:54 AM »

Lead from the front. That means stay in front, don't be turning around to do their jobs (unless they ask for help.)

A commander maintains the unit, they don't revamp it.

Be open to discussion. I wanted someone as a deputy that had some different views on things. I figured that if we agree on things, we're either doing the right thing, or about to do something very wrong. Analyze accordingly.

When you take the job, make sure you are kept informed on what events/activities/happenings occur when you're not there. There should never be any kind of event that you're not aware of. This isn't micromanaging, you are responsible for things your unit does.

Maintain yourself. Work on your own professional development, even while you're a commander. You benefit yourself, and set an example.

+ Never set goals, objectives, or deadlines that don't apply to the Commander.

"Well, I'm the Commander..." isn't a thing.

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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,260

« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2018, 09:34:26 AM »

Lead from the front. That means stay in front, don't be turning around to do their jobs (unless they ask for help.)

This I like a lot #stolen

A commander maintains the unit, they don't revamp it.

This I have an issue with - at the high-level it sounds "right", but doesn't really apply to CAP, because on many levels CAP units operate
as islands, and a >lot< of units >need< revamping.  There are few places, such as Finance, where the only opportunity to make
involuntary change is when a new CC is appointed.

One of the reasons CAP instituted term limits for CC's was specifically to inject new blood and ideas into the organizaiton on a regular basis
and discourage the fiefdoms.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,260

« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2018, 09:34:52 AM »

Lead from the front. That means stay in front, don't be turning around to do their jobs (unless they ask for help.)

A commander maintains the unit, they don't revamp it.

Be open to discussion. I wanted someone as a deputy that had some different views on things. I figured that if we agree on things, we're either doing the right thing, or about to do something very wrong. Analyze accordingly.

When you take the job, make sure you are kept informed on what events/activities/happenings occur when you're not there. There should never be any kind of event that you're not aware of. This isn't micromanaging, you are responsible for things your unit does.

Maintain yourself. Work on your own professional development, even while you're a commander. You benefit yourself, and set an example.

+ Never set goals, objectives, or deadlines that don't apply to the Commander.

"Well, I'm the Commander..." isn't a thing.

x10 - A big part of "leading from the front".
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,887

« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2018, 12:13:24 PM »

This I like a lot #stolen
A hashtag from Eclipse? A sure sign that end times are upon us.
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 485
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2018, 12:29:39 PM »

This I like a lot #stolen
A hashtag from Eclipse? A sure sign that end times are upon us.
True that!
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Hawk200
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,629

« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2018, 09:37:43 PM »

A commander maintains the unit, they don't revamp it.

This I have an issue with - at the high-level it sounds "right", but doesn't really apply to CAP, because on many levels CAP units operate
as islands, and a >lot< of units >need< revamping.  There are few places, such as Finance, where the only opportunity to make
involuntary change is when a new CC is appointed.

One of the reasons CAP instituted term limits for CC's was specifically to inject new blood and ideas into the organizaiton on a regular basis and discourage the fiefdoms.

Maintaining the unit is probably a matter of viewpoint. If something is broken, it gets fixed. If someone is not working out in a particular position, you find one that fits their aptitude, and hopefully their interests as well. In a volunteer organization, people's interests need to be considered. Sticking someone in a job they don't want can reduce your rolls PDQ.

What I consider "revamping" would be taking over, and then changing things just to change them, or changing out people in a manner that amounts to cronyism. Either action will drastically change the identity of the unit. With any change in personnel there is a mild identity change, but the unit is still recognizable.

"Maintenance" when one takes over can sometimes best be served by sitting back for a couple of months, and keeping an eye on what's working. If it works, leave it alone.

Hopefully, I'm making sense.
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Squadron Commander Advice
 


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