By Julia LeDoux
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Chief of Safety and Occupational Health Adrain Kendrick recently completed the Army Civilian Advanced Course and is urging his fellow government employees to take advantage of the opportunities the Civilian Education System offers them.
“I think every Army employee who qualifies to attend their appropriate course needs to go if for no other reason than to reflect on where you are, where you want to be and how you are going to get there,” Kendrick, who finished the 4-week course last month, said.
Kendrick explained that the CES is a new, progressive and sequential leader development program that provides enhanced leader development and education opportunities for Army civilians throughout their careers.
“The Army Staff Management College offers CES that covers foundational, intermediate and advanced leadership courses,” he said.
Each civil service grade requires certain CES courses that are done online and then in residency at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In his case, Kendrick had completed the necessary online courses and was accepted for a spot in a resident’s course.
“The classes fill up quick,” he noted.
Kendrick said the course helped participants figure out a lot about themselves and led him to reflect on where he is as a person, a leader and a professional.
“What I got out of it is there is a bridge between my personal life, my professional life and me as a leader,” he said. “One impacts the other.”
Kendrick said during the course instructors guided participants to self-reflect on whether they are being the best person they can be at home and the best professional and leader they can be at work.
“When you leave that course, you’ll get some answers,” he said. “I came back refocused, I came back with how to decide what’s my next step.”
The class was broken down into groups of 32 called a cohort; seminars of 16; and teams of eight.
“Most of the work we did was problem solving from a team perspective, building highly performing teams,” Kendrick continued. “You have to work within that team dynamic, the personalities, the thought processes, the detailed people, the not-so-detailed people to develop a product.”
Kendrick said teams had to establish a common interest in doing well in the course, in solving the problem and in learning how to interact with each other. Once that cohesion had been established, the teams were switched and the process was begun again.
“What was great about that was that you challenged yourself, your thinking, your paradigm, how you normally solved things,” he said.
Kendrick and his fellow classmates used critical thinking skills to analyze a situation and solve the problem.
“In the end, what we saw, our particular cohort, our particular seminar, did some outstanding work on subjects we were not familiar when everything is said and done,” he said.
Kendrick said the course is student-led and student-driven.
“In the end, it didn’t appear to be about how well you did,” he said. “This issue was, you as a student, did you have learning taking place.”
Kendrick said he has shared what he learned at the course with others on the joint base.
“The tools that I received from the course have now allowed me to sit back and reflect on the decisions I make and the decisions I want to make,” he said. “What’s the long-term impact of those decisions on the organization, the Army and how does it help the individual who is working for me or with me. I don’t think I’ve naturally reflected on that in the past.”
Kendrick said the course has led him to consider the next steps he wants to take in his Army career.
“It’s hard for me to believe that someone who went through that course who just put in 50 percent effort didn’t get out of it 100 percent change,” he said.