The 4th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) is among the best, as demonstrated by its exemplary achievements in the past, which include successful missions in Afghanistan. The brigade has also had its share of problems due to various factors, including leadership change and internal struggles. The 4th ABCT needs a transformational leader who can synthesize organizational-level leadership concepts for a better future. Organizational-level leaders are in a constant process of development through creating a clear vision that permeates the whole workplace, and manifested in terms of goals, values, beliefs, and actions of the leader. The task is heavier for organizational-level leaders compared to direct-level leaders since organizational-level leaders must collaborate with senior and junior leaders in all units. In particular, the vision must be precise and clear to provide the whole team with a direction and destination and must be devoid of ambiguity. For this reason, it is fundamental for me to articulate the vision clearly, ensuring that everyone understands it and follows it. Additionally, it means that I must first understand the meaning of the vision by picturing the future held by value-based purposes that develops a channel for driving behavior, change, and motivation. The 4th ABCT requires a cultural change. The mission is to conduct leadership, communication, and welfare reforms, resulting in an effective and efficient unit with high morale, high job satisfaction, good health, and good communication. This mission is especially urgent since we are preparing for our upcoming deployment for the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). The vision is a forward-looking picture that must be value-based to change behaviors and motivate my subordinates to embrace the vision.
Problems and Challenges
The 4th ABCT requires a cultural change. The mission is to conduct reforms in leadership, communication, and the soldiers’ welfare. An effective and efficient unit leads to high morale, high job satisfaction, good health, and good communication, which are necessary for preparing for our upcoming deployment for the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). The two overall problems I will need to address are unit ineffectiveness and inefficiency. Additionally, I will face trust, loyalty, and integrity issues that will damage the organization if not handled.
Applying strong leadership skills and articulating a clear vision can address ineffectiveness and inefficiency in a unit. Many challenges have been carried over from former Afghanistan deployment. They have resulted in an ineffective legislative climate and culture. The first challenge is the lack of leadership because the unit has lacked an effective commander, and this needs immediate rectification. One of my priorities will be providing leadership development. I will allow my primary and special staff to take the initiative and act as my eyes and ears. Command climate surveys across the brigade will measure the changes that have occurred throughout my time in command and help inform the needed changes. Troops will meet with me informally to understand their feelings and opinions on what needs fixing. These meetings will also address family readiness issues. The organizational change will have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, emphasize policy enforcement, and provide extensive Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) training. Anyone found engaging in sexual harassment will be investigated. I will advocate for and demonstrate the importance of performing leadership development counseling to all leaders to motivate leadership development. I will integrate emotional intelligence with soft personal power over their positional power when influencing, providing guidance, and instructing their peers and subordinates. These changes will cause a positive increase in soldier morale.
The second challenge that needs to be addressed is the disintegration and lack of communication. Poor communication leads to a lack of teamwork between the Command team and primary staff members, another main source of unit ineffectiveness and inefficiency. As the new Brigade Commander, I must immediately address several organizational issues that have caused the brigade to function ineffectively. Over the past couple of years, the 4th ABCT has had multiple personnel changes, including the Command team and primary staff. The lack of leadership continuity within the brigade has caused organizational and personnel issues that need immediate attention. The proposed changes will result in an effective battalion, and their introduction would take a gradual process in line with Kotter’s Change Model.
I will bring all my primary staff, Commanders, Command Sergeant Majors, and Operational Sergeant Majors to a meeting to ensure that everyone stops functioning independently and works cohesively. During the meeting, I will present my command philosophy, vision, and mission statement, and I will address the main issues we should focus on to restore the 4th ABCT to its former greatness. I will demand urgency from my staff in managing the unit’s most critical problems, including compliance and commitment to finding new and effective ways to change or influence their leadership.
Using my primary team, I will form a coalition to help build trust in my vision across the brigade. Here, I will need to inform and convince the whole team about the need for change. Harnessing strong leadership skills at this phase remains essential to supporting and pushing the new change to key personnel within 4th ABCT. While not all people within 4th ABCT may agree with my ideologies, winning their hearts and forming a change coalition with everyone will help in building a sense of urgency and building the right momentum for pushing the needed change.
The main areas of weakness are a lack of leadership, communication, and teamwork. The lack of leadership needs to be addressed first because the unit is ineffective and inefficient without proper leadership, resulting in poor communication and teamwork. Creating a stable organization will allow me to share my vision statement and use my coalition to push it out to the troops. My vision statement, “unity leads to success for all,” means teamwork equals success for both the mission and our families. All troops will receive my clear vision statement, explaining that leadership cares for the troop and their families and ensures successful future missions.
Another phase of Kotter’s Model of Change involves removing the barriers. Teamwork means that leadership will ensure the troop has proper training and equipment to complete the mission and ensure the welfare of soldiers and their families successfully. This measure will create a positive environment, which will, in turn, boost morale and create a better training and deployment atmosphere. The attitude of the troops will improve, and, consequently, the families will be more supportive of the troop and the mission. I will create short-term wins by encouraging soldiers to finish their pre-deployment training with leadership offers and incentives. Each victory will build on the change. With each win, the brigade will increasingly trust my leadership. The seventh stage, which connects to the previous goal, entails never letting up. Here, I will help the team realize both short-term and long-term gains inherent to the implemented changes. Often, people want to celebrate the short wins. However, resistance can build if one fails to build the right momentum. This means conceptualizing new improvement ideas and getting the whole team on-board to keep pushing the change initiative. The final stage of Kotter’s eight steps of change is to anchoring the change and incorporating the culture. This happens when a new soldier has heard of the unit’s success and great training by word of mouth and the unit’s actions. Other soldiers will want to come to the 4th ABCT because of the positive atmosphere.
Having a clear vision paves way for effective leadership and creates room for incorporating appropriate changes to 4th ABCT. The vision statement that “unity leads to success for all” means that the leadership will look out for the soldiers and their families. When all team members feel their welfare is factored in 4th ABCT’s vision, then accepting and promoting the change driven by Kotter’s eight factor model would lead to success for all, which is accomplished through teamwork between leadership and soldiers. If everyone works hard at the tasks assigned, it will lead to success and trust.
Julien Pollack and Rachel Pollack. “Using Kotter’s Eight Stage Process to Manage an Organisational Change Program: Presentation and Practice,” Systemic Practice and Action Research 28, no. 1, 2014.
Roblek, Vasja and Maja Mesko, “The importance of vision and mission for organizational development and growth,” Challenges of globalization in economics and business: III International Scientific Conference, October 2018.
Roumel B. D. Laig and Ferdinand T. Abocejo. “Change Management Process in a Mining Company: Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model,” Journal of Management, Economics, and Industrial Organization 5, no. 3, (2021).
Walker, Carey W., and Robert J. Rielly, “Crossing the Rubicon: An Introduction to Organizational Level Leadership.” Command and General Staff College, August 6, 2013.
 Carey W. Walker and Robert J. Reilly, “Crossing the Rubicon: An Introduction to Organizational Level Leadership,” Command and General Staff College, August 6, 2013.
 Roblek, Vasja and Maja Mesko, “The importance of vision and mission for organizational development and growth,” Challenges of globalization in economics and business: III International Scientific Conference, October 2018, 308.
 Ibid., 308.
 Julien Pollack and Rachel Pollack. “Using Kotter’s Eight Stage Process to Manage an Organisational Change Program: Presentation and Practice,” Systemic Practice and Action Research 28, no. 1, 2014.
 Roumel B. D. Laig and Ferdinand T. Abocejo. “Change Management Process in a Mining Company: Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model,” Journal of Management, Economics, and Industrial Organization 5, no. 3, (2021), 36.
 Ibid., 36.