Don Vandergriff I: Teaching the Adaptive Leadership MethodologyBack in December, Donald Vandergriff, a retired US Army officer who now acts as a consultant on leadership development, wrote a post for his blog that gives a good idea of the type of training he recommends and conducts for members of the armed forces and civilian law enforcement organizations.
Vandergriff advocates leadership development training that emphasizes adaptability. As you can see from his blog post, Vandergriff is focused on adaptability because it is essential for being able to handle complex problem situations, especially when time is of the essence.
In brief, Vandergriff teaches the Adaptive Leadership Methodology as follows:
Experimentation comes first through the execution of Tactical Decision-Making Exercises (TDEs) [see below] followed by the officers briefing their decisions, plans or orders. After the officer explained him or herself and responded to criticism from their peers and me, the group executed an intense instructor-facilitated after-action review (AARs). The “teaching” was accomplished through AARs as the officers discovered for themselves the concepts and principles included in workshop’s outcomes.Vandergriff explains how the TDEs are set up:
Each TDE consisted of a scenario summary and a map with graphics. I either handed out a printed copy of the scenario or issued it verbally to the officers, requiring them to listen closely and take notes. The TDEs were two types (1) immediate decision exercises that gave the officers only 30 seconds or a few minutes to make a decision and (2) planning exercises that are longer in duration and culminate in the briefing of orders. In either case, the officers were given limited time and limited information to make their decisions and to complete their plans. This induced stress and allowed them to discover for themselves that delaying decisions until one has “perfect intelligence” or to wait for “permission” is both unrealistic and ineffective.Citing the work of Robert Bjork, a psychology professor at UCLA for support, Vandergriff reports that he has consistently found that long-term learning is greater if specific tasks are taught in the larger context of problem solving (as opposed to being taught in isolation as a series of lessons that take the form "in situation X, do the following").