• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Senior Officer numbers - FB post by Col (Ret'd) Michel Drapeau

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Relic
Reaction score
9,217
Points
1,160
It's more than just the ratio, as we all know. It's also about the culture.

Here's an interesting article about that:

How Many Direct Reports Should You Have?​

Most Leaders Miss This Critical Culture Element​


If you go to business school to get your MBA, you'll likely learn about a concept known as "span of control." In short, span of control means how many employees any one manager might have directly reporting to them.

Based on numerous academic studies that have researched this topic, the optimum number of direct reports for any manager should be the lucky number seven, plus or minus a few.

But when it comes to designing your organization, you might want to adjust this number based on a couple of different variables. Maybe your span of control should be lower-or maybe higher. We know, for instance, that managers in "flatter" organizations tend to have more direct reports compared to those who work in more hierarchical management structures. These flatter organizations tend to be less formal and have better information flow. More hierarchical organizations with lower spans of control tend to be more formal. In other words, when it comes to answering the question of how many direct reports should your managers have, the answer is: it depends, but it's an important element of organizational design and culture, so you can't just assume this will work out.

Let me explain.

1. Complexity of the work

The first variable in assessing the span of control in your organization is to establish the complexity level of the work being done. If you run a call center that employs fairly standard routines for every employee, for example, then perhaps a manager can have as many as twenty or even thirty people directly reporting to him or her. But of you run a professional consulting firm, where the complexity of the work changes by the project, managers might be more effective with a smaller span of control to ensure employees get the attention and resources needed to get the work done.

2. Employee skills and experience
On the flip side of the equation, you will also need to consider the skill level and experience of your employees. Even the best managers can handle training only so many new people on the job. If the people in our call center example are newly hired and have less than a few weeks experience, then you might need a much lower span of control as those new workers are trained on the job. But if most of the employees in the call center have worked there for two to three years, many of whom who may even have written the procedures everyone uses, then you get away with a much larger span of control.

3. Acceptable error rate
Finding the right span of control also depends on the nature of the work being done, especially the allowable error rate. That means that the more precise the work needs to be, the fewer direct reports a manager should have. For example, if you run a family-style casual restaurant, you might be able to get away with a larger span of control because the customers will tolerate mistakes fairly readily. Or, worst case, you might have to comp a meal every now and again due to a server error. But if you run a Michelin three-star restaurant, your customers will tolerate nothing but elite service-or you run the risk of losing your rating. Everything, from the placement of the silverware and napkins to the pouring of the wine, needs to be precise. In such a case like this, your span of control should be much narrower.

4. Managerial experience

Another key factor in assessing the span of control for your organization is to assess the skills and experience level of your leaders. An extremely seasoned CEO, for instance, might be able to effectively manage thirteen to fifteen VPS and directors. That's because the CEO has such a deep well of experience working in different roles within the business that he or she can remain effective even if their span of control is nearly double what the book number says. If you have promoted a fairly new leader into the CEO role, on the other hand, you may still want to limit their span of control for the first few years.

5. Dynamic environment
The final element in determining the ideal ratio of direct reports to managers is to evaluate how dynamic the work or market environment is. As a rough rule, the more dynamic things are, the narrower the span of control should be. For example, if you operate in the tech industry, where new products are coming out monthly or even weekly, you risk overloading your managers by having too many people reporting to them. The opposite is true, of course, if you work in a very predictable and stable environment.

6. Use of Technology
The pervasive availability of technology has allowed managers to increase their span of control because the tools allow more information flow. There isn't a need for regular update meetings with you use a strategy deployment tool like Khorus to keep every project updated. This includes extending to remote employees that the manager might rarely see face-to-face. So highly technology enabled firms can operate with a larger span of control.

So, when it comes to designing your organization and deciding on the optimum span of control, you can start with the book number of seven. But a more thoughtful approach will be to modify that number based on these five variables to see what your magic number really is.


 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
6,923
Points
1,360
Interesting to note that the 94,423 "officers" in the US Active Army includes 14,628 Warrant Officers.

🍻
They are officers…eat in the same mess, etc. some happen to be commissioned, other warranted, but all are officers.
 

Pelorus

Member
Reaction score
111
Points
580
This is a very weird post by Mr. Drapeau, even though the topic itself is worth debating. Often data without context is worse than no data at all.

It seems like he's conflating two distinct but related issues. One being the ratio of officers to NCMs, the second being the operations/support ratio of the CAF. As mentioned above, pulling straight numbers which includes lots of specialty trades which happen to be officers (e.g., med trades, PAO, TDO, PSO, etc.) and then rolling all of those numbers together into some implied context of a typical army construct misses the mark IMO.

If he was serious about presenting his argument, I would have thought that he would have used the image to present the data in some useful format, rather than a picture of Flag ranks and have his entire argument smashed into the body of the comments on that picture.

I think this line from his post is the most telling: "More Majors (3,817) than second lieutenants (1,509)." Someone who understands the basics of CAF career progression, which Mr. Drapeau almost certainly does, would not find the above at all surprising, seeing as 2Lt is a transitory training rank whereas Maj is a working rank. By including that line in his post it seems to me that his target audience is civilians who don't know how the military works, and will take his shoddy analysis at face value.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
3,930
Points
1,040
They are officers…eat in the same mess, etc. some happen to be commissioned, other warranted, but all are officers.
Grammatically so are non-commissioned "officers" even though the NDA says that they aren't and now they're NCMs.

I was only mentioning the statistic to point out that the numbers of officers in the US Army do in fact reflect commissioned and warranted officers while ours do not. We're not comparing apples and apples here.

🍻
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
6,923
Points
1,360
Grammatically so are non-commissioned "officers" even though the NDA says that they aren't and now they're NCMs.

I was only mentioning the statistic to point out that the numbers of officers in the US Army do in fact reflect commissioned and warranted officers while ours do not. We're not comparing apples and apples here.

🍻
And I was just pointing out that in the US Army, you see both commissioned and warranted officers in the O Club and mess (when it’s not a DFAC in your). They are considered specialist officers (similar to the RAF’s ‘Specialist Airvrew’) and you will see in command circles, a CW5 treated as a specialist LTC/COL-eqvt to a Brigade Commander, CW4 similar to a MAJ in a Unit or Regt, and a CW3 like a CPT at Company level. They are not treated like an NCO/Sr.Enlisted member.

Regards
G2G
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
3,930
Points
1,040
And I was just pointing out that in the US Army, you see both commissioned and warranted officers in the O Club and mess (when it’s not a DFAC in your). They are considered specialist officers (similar to the RAF’s ‘Specialist Airvrew’) and you will see in command circles, a CW5 treated as a specialist LTC/COL-eqvt to a Brigade Commander, CW4 similar to a MAJ in a Unit or Regt, and a CW3 like a CPT at Company level. They are not treated like an NCO/Sr.Enlisted member.

Regards
G2G
Sure. Read my Mark Winters, CID novels - the chief protagonist is a CW2 (later CW3) running the local Criminal Investigation Command det in Lakeland Florida. 😉

🍻
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
6,923
Points
1,360
Sure. Read my Mark Winters, CID novels - the chief protagonist is a CW2 (later CW3) running the local Criminal Investigation Command det in Lakeland Florida. 😉

🍻
😉

…and don’t forget, when it came came to making the plan and briefing POTUS on the hunt for OBL, it was the 160th SOAR(A)’s CW5 Doug Englen who was the senior most advisor in the US Army. 👍🏼
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
3,930
Points
1,040
😉

…and don’t forget, when it came came to making the plan and briefing POTUS on the hunt for OBL, it was the 160th SOAR(A)’s CW5 Doug Englen who was the senior most advisor in the US Army. 👍🏼

Who is a pilot - but we won't go there. :ROFLMAO:

🍻
 

dimsum

Army.ca Legend
Mentor
Reaction score
3,348
Points
1,260
Who is a pilot - but we won't go there. :ROFLMAO:
Frustrated Parks And Recreation GIF
 

dimsum

Army.ca Legend
Mentor
Reaction score
3,348
Points
1,260
I’ve never been one of the naysayers…perhaps I’m to open-minded for the CAF/RCAF?
Invoking my...uh...OP powers, may I suggest this thread for that? :sneaky:

 

dapaterson

Army.ca Relic
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
5,578
Points
990
As of 19 Aug and according to Guardian, the CAF Reg Force is made up of (Read Rank, Filled, Unfilled):

Pte(B), 0, 1857
Pte, 1296, 278
Pte/Cpl, 10378, 3325
Cpl, 6657, 1908
MCpl, 7903, 2166
Sgt, 5905, 1211
WO, 3491, 672
MWO, 1808, 322
CWO, 425, 14
OCdt, 0, 3126
2Lt, 0, 615
Lt/Capt, 1650, 990
Lt, 172, 121
Capt, 4173, 1364
Maj, 3424, 763
LCol, 1231, 154
Col, 331, 24
BGen, 61, 4
MGen, 31, 1
LGen, 9, 0
Gen, 1, 0
Totals, 48946, 18915 or if all positions were filled 67861

Reserve
Pte(R), 538, 246
Pte(B), 1, 1
Pte, 292, 184
Pte/Cpl, 10282, 6721
Cpl, 1497, 2067
MCpl, 2910, 4087
Sgt, 2265, 2823
WO, 958, 1464
MWO, 457, 536
CWO, 163, 53
OCdt, 244, 114
2Lt, 68, 38
Lt/Capt, 1077, 925
Lt, 218, 151
Capt, 1147, 1425
Maj, 840, 835
LCol, 281, 255
Col, 42, 53
BGen, 6, 7
MGen, 0, 4
Totals, 23286, 21989, or if all posns were filled 45275


So the ratio of all Reg Force filled officers vs all NCO posns is 3.41. If all positions were filled that ratio changes to 2.71.
The Reserve numbers for filled posns is 4.93. If all posns were filled it changes to 4.85.

Combining the numbers of filled posns Reg and Reserve would give 3.81 and 3.35 if we were full up posn wise.

Note these numbers do not contain Rangers or COATS posns.
I am not sure which report this is drawn from; the HRRS strength summary report dated 20 August is materially different in terms of actual strength for both Reg F and P Res; the numbers in HRRS are about a third greater.

There are certain reports which show occupied positions, which are misleading, as individuals are frequently double banked. Or, in some cases, units move all their pers to MMO in Guardian so they can rearrange them at leisure in Monitor MASS
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
6,923
Points
1,360
Invoking my...uh...OP powers, may I suggest this thread for that? :sneaky:

Mine was a full-stop. Have enough t-shirts. ;)
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
2,878
Points
1,060
So, as per usual, Kirkhill is going to talk about Privates in a thread about Generals. 😁

USMC is redirecting their training of new entries - teaching them how to employ all company weapons during their initial 14 week training schedule. The training involves less lecturing and more EDIP - explain, demonstrate, imitate and practice - in the field environment, using the actual equipment.

Why is this an appropriate discussion in this thread? For the same reason I felt it necessary to discuss the role of the LAV Commander in the Force 2025 thread. I believe that when looking at the spectrum of operations detail matters.

This anecdote sums things up for me:

Asked about his perspective on the types of additional skill sets that might enhance future capabilities, Pasciuti related his own recent field experience with the pilot class.

“During our patrolling exercise I got a squad together and physically went out to ‘hunt’ the students,” he said. “Remember, the instructors at this point are hands off and this is entirely a student-run event with their own student squad leaders and their own student radio operators. And the students had to set up a platoon patrol base as directed in their operation order.

“But what the students decided to do was set up a patrol base plus a triangle defense, with three independent fire teams out as [listening posts/observation posts]. And one of those picked us up on thermals when we were still two kilometers away.

“I didn’t know they had picked us up. But what they did was move a machine gun team over to allow plunging fire into my squad, along with two more fire teams to counter ambush my team.

“This was done by privates, all of their own. They did this on their own because they understand geometries of fire. We taught them that.”

In addition to things like machine gun placement, he added that the new instruction also begins to introduce how mortars could be emplaced.

Noting the noise being generated by the artillery from Camp Pendleton’s 11th Marine Regiment across the Camp Pendleton impact area, he speculated, “What if, in the future, we taught them supporting arms and how to bring those resources when they see a patrol two clicks away?

They would use their most deadly weapons, right? And now I’m done. I can’t even get close.”

He concluded: “The No. 1 question I get asked is to identify the biggest single difference between this and the old course. The biggest single difference is that we stopped focusing on the instructors and started focusing on the students.


The ratios of leaders to led is ultimately dependent, IMO, on how much confidence, how much trust, the leaders have in the led and the led have in the leaders.

And the rank structure matters less than how steep the pyramid is. Most agile organizations operate with a flat pyramid. A flat pyramid is predicated on (god I love buzz words) "empowering" its lower tier.

Now, I suppose, you could equally make a pyramid based on a lower tier of Brigadiers, each one with a Warrant Officer of some ilk.
 

kev994

Sr. Member
Reaction score
584
Points
940
As of 19 Aug and according to Guardian, the CAF Reg Force is made up of (Read Rank, Filled, Unfilled):

Pte(B), 0, 1857
Pte, 1296, 278
Pte/Cpl, 10378, 3325
Cpl, 6657, 1908
MCpl, 7903, 2166
Sgt, 5905, 1211
WO, 3491, 672
MWO, 1808, 322
CWO, 425, 14
OCdt, 0, 3126
2Lt, 0, 615
Lt/Capt, 1650, 990
Lt, 172, 121
Capt, 4173, 1364
Maj, 3424, 763
LCol, 1231, 154
Col, 331, 24
BGen, 61, 4
MGen, 31, 1
LGen, 9, 0
Gen, 1, 0
Totals, 48946, 18915 or if all positions were filled 67861

Reserve
Pte(R), 538, 246
Pte(B), 1, 1
Pte, 292, 184
Pte/Cpl, 10282, 6721
Cpl, 1497, 2067
MCpl, 2910, 4087
Sgt, 2265, 2823
WO, 958, 1464
MWO, 457, 536
CWO, 163, 53
OCdt, 244, 114
2Lt, 68, 38
Lt/Capt, 1077, 925
Lt, 218, 151
Capt, 1147, 1425
Maj, 840, 835
LCol, 281, 255
Col, 42, 53
BGen, 6, 7
MGen, 0, 4
Totals, 23286, 21989, or if all posns were filled 45275


So the ratio of all Reg Force filled officers vs all NCO posns is 3.41. If all positions were filled that ratio changes to 2.71.
The Reserve numbers for filled posns is 4.93. If all posns were filled it changes to 4.85.

Combining the numbers of filled posns Reg and Reserve would give 3.81 and 3.35 if we were full up posn wise.

Note these numbers do not contain Rangers or COATS posns.
So there are 0 Ocdts in the CAF? Me thinks there be a glitch.
 

Navy_Pete

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
1,228
Points
1,040
So there are 0 Ocdts in the CAF? Me thinks there be a glitch.
Weird things happen when you go onto the BTL/ATL. There are also 0 Pte(B) and 2Lts in the list. Assuming the data pull missed some scope (or isn't in Guardian). Those all total up to over 5k unfilled billets in the list that aren't accounted for (although hard to believe there are 3126 OCdt positions).

Good data is hard to get and parse. Still remember taking a stats course back in the day and a prof was able to manipulate gas price tracking to show it was trending down.
 
Top