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New Generation Asking "Why?"

Tibbson

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AirDet said:
I know some of the clerks in our BOR were feeling overwhelmed with the volume of work thrust upon them. It would make sense for their supervisors to develop a plan to mitigate the stress on their staff. This is part of the reason they bulk submitted end of April.

Personally, I think it's unfair to assign any blame to this base or any other for waiting so long. They made a call based on the situation at the time. This is the nature of what we do.

I seem to hear that more and more these days.  Maybe it's the younger generation (says the dinosaur) but more and more I hear "we just cant do it", "Its not fair we have so much work to do" or "I'm feeling stressed".  In the "old days" we just put our heads down and got it done.  Sure its a lot of work but it's not a constant situation.  And I don't mean to just bash your clerks or anyone elses clerks as much as I'm making a general comment over how I see things in general these days.
 

AirDet

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@ Schindler, Things sure have changed over the last 3 decades I've been in. You're right. There was a time we just "did it". Those were also the days when didn't use or even have much PPE. We also thought WHMIS was a joke. Now these things are so ingrained we can't function without them. I think dealing with institutionalized stress is much the same now.

Like I previously stated pointing the finger at certain bases is unfair and unwarranted. As CF leaders we make decisions every day. Not all of them prove to be right over time but they were right at the time.
 

Tibbson

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AirDet said:
Like I previously stated pointing the finger at certain bases is unfair and unwarranted. As CF leaders we make decisions every day. Not all of them prove to be right over time but they were right at the time.

With you 100%.  My comments were not directed to any one trade, situation or Base.  Just a general observation on the state of the CAF as I see it after as much time in as you.  Used to be a time when I was told to do something and the only answer I would dream of giving was "Yes [rank here]".  Now, the first answer I get from subordinates is "Why?". 

Time to go vest shopping I think.  Gotta find which colour I look best in.  Walmart blue, Rona light blue, Home Depot orange, Kent green or even Target red.  Choices, choices, choices.....
 

AirDet

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Schindler's lift said:
Used to be a time when I was told to do something and the only answer I would dream of giving was "Yes [rank here]".  Now, the first answer I get from subordinates is "Why?". 

Time to go vest shopping I think.  Gotta find which colour I look best in.  Walmart blue, Rona light blue, Home Depot orange, Kent green or even Target red.  Choices, choices, choices.....

It used to drive me nuts too. Then I modified my techniques to deal with the new generation. There are times to ask why. There are also times to say "yes, Sir". The secret is getting the kids to recognize which is which.

Good luck job hunting.
 

Pusser

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Schindler's lift said:
I seem to hear that more and more these days.  Maybe it's the younger generation (says the dinosaur) but more and more I hear "we just cant do it", "Its not fair we have so much work to do" or "I'm feeling stressed".  In the "old days" we just put our heads down and got it done.  Sure its a lot of work but it's not a constant situation.  And I don't mean to just bash your clerks or anyone elses clerks as much as I'm making a general comment over how I see things in general these days.

I've been around for a long time too.  I've been arguing for some time now though that one of the main reasons we're in the mess we're in is because far too many times, "we just put our heads down and got it done."  Rather than getting kudos for extra hard work, we were "rewarded" with cutbacks because we'd just proven we didn't really need all those people on our establishment.  Institutionally, we still reward COs who break the backs of their troops to get a job done at all costs, but punish those who are honest about the situation and report to their superiors that their units may not be ready for something.  Sometimes leadership is about admitting that we can't do it.
 

Eye In The Sky

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I worked at a CBG HQ years ago; my BH was a former WO-CFR'd type, who then retired and came back under a ASD contract.  One of the things he'd learned over the years was the military way to say "no and/orwe can't" and was very professional in how he did it, even 'as a civie'.

At one COS O Grp I attended, I remember being asked to stay behind with my BH to discuss a point the COS wanted info/clarification on.  After the COS had the info he wanted, my BH spoke briefly about the "to-do" list being too big for the amount of people he had.  He had a list of everything that our branch was being asked/expected to do that week written on paper and with him. 

He looked at the COS and said "sir, with due respect, this task list would require 20 hour days for 2 full weeks.  I can say with CERTAINTY that we can do at least 10 or as many as 15 of those tasks this week.  Please look the list over and indicate which 10-15 you would like".

;D
 

ballz

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Schindler's lift said:
I seem to hear that more and more these days.  Maybe it's the younger generation (says the dinosaur) but more and more I hear "we just cant do it", "Its not fair we have so much work to do" or "I'm feeling stressed".  In the "old days" we just put our heads down and got it done.  Sure its a lot of work but it's not a constant situation.  And I don't mean to just bash your clerks or anyone elses clerks as much as I'm making a general comment over how I see things in general these days.

The situation I am in sees the SNCOs / WOs (the "dinosaurs" so to speak) telling the young Officers that the tempo is too high, the resources aren't there to do the job required properly, etc, and they are just being told to "get it done," which results in sub-standard training, a real thorn in their side when they see training value suffer as a result. Admittedly, this is a very narrow view from the one job I've had now for only 7 months (Pl Comd, my baseline), but I happen to agree with them. The brigade wants more more more with less and less resources every day. They are pushing this info up to younger folks (young Pl Comds and young OCs) and are being told to "make it work" and "make it happen."

As for asking "why?" I made a point from the very first day I started this job that I expect (some might say demand) to be asked "why?" and if I don't have a sufficient answer I probably haven't asked enough "why's" to my OC before leaving his office / O-group / coords / whatever. Luckily I have a great OC, so I can ask "why?" when the opportunities arise and don't receive negative feedback for doing so. I have found my SNCOs to be much more productive if they've at least got some sort of idea of the constraints we're working within than if they are told "just put your head down and do it." Their buy-in results in the best results I we can expect when faced with scarce resources.
 

Navy_Pete

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Eye In The Sky said:
I worked at a CBG HQ years ago; my BH was a former WO-CFR'd type, who then retired and came back under a ASD contract.  One of the things he'd learned over the years was the military way to say "no and/orwe can't" and was very professional in how he did it, even 'as a civie'.

At one COS O Grp I attended, I remember being asked to stay behind with my BH to discuss a point the COS wanted info/clarification on.  After the COS had the info he wanted, my BH spoke briefly about the "to-do" list being too big for the amount of people he had.  He had a list of everything that our branch was being asked/expected to do that week written on paper and with him. 

He looked at the COS and said "sir, with due respect, this task list would require 20 hour days for 2 full weeks.  I can say with CERTAINTY that we can do at least 10 or as many as 15 of those tasks this week.  Please look the list over and indicate which 10-15 you would like".

;D

There is a big push on at DGMEPM in general to get that kind of thing captured; we're going through the process of roughly putting down our time breakdown on different tasks for everyone, and they are tracking who's doing what, OT, etc (for civilians, for the folks in uniform, those of us that are lucky enough to have a good director gets the occasional short day/slider).  Additionally, taskings for each section have been prioritized for each class at the project level, and then there is a cut off for what gets resourced (funding and people).

They've done this because they realized there is more work then capacity and available resources for projects (includes not just technical, but procurement/contracting parts as well), so stuff that's important gets done, and stuff less important got put on the back burner and zero funded.  Now when something new comes up, we already have a big list that we can look up and see what drops off, and can figure out what the impact on the fleet is.  Involves a bit of extra work, but only way to do it properly when money is tight.  Imagine the other EPMs are doing something similar, but to me this approach generally makes a lot of sense.  Sometimes the 'just get it done' approach leads to people taking on too much, scrambling around, and not as much attention gets paid to the critical stuff because you are running down less important items. :2c:
 

PPCLI Guy

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Navy_Pete said:
and can figure out what the impact on the fleet is. 

And then the fleet has zero wriggle room to decide what fits with it / them, as others in echelons above reality have already decided for them.

My 2 centavos, from the perspective of "the fleet".
 

Journeyman

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ballz said:
As for asking "why?" .....
Since we're completely off-topic now.....

I've made a point of including the "why" as part of the end-state with pretty much everything I've passed downwards.  It usually doesn't take that much extra effort.  Once the troops have judged you and (hopefully) decided that you actually have your sh!t together and aren't part of a Dilbert cartoon, when those times inevitably show up that you don't have time for the "why," they'll presume you're not screwing them over and get on with it.  When possible, post-orders, let the MCpl/Sgt/Lt know the background.

Leadership 101.  Yep, it's a new generation, but it's not complicated.


ps - the difficult part is implementing/justifying a dumbass decision from higher.  The easy road is to join the troops in trash-talking. Don't!  And good luck.
 

Navy_Pete

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PPCLI Guy said:
And then the fleet has zero wriggle room to decide what fits with it / them, as others in echelons above reality have already decided for them.

My 2 centavos, from the perspective of "the fleet".

In this case, we're generally talking long term (2-5 years+), and it's also vetted by the operators on the requirement side, and is coming from clear direction from CRCN on where he wants the fleet to go.  It's kind of hard to be flexible looking out that far when there is already not enough funding to go around.

We're already well past having any wiggle room with the limited budgets, and the old way was whoever argued the best/loudest/first got the funding.  Now at least if someone says 'Now we need to do 'X'', you can see what isn't going to get done, so they can make an informed decision.

Completely off topic though, but don't see how putting something in place to make better decisions when prioritizing things is a bad thing.
 
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