!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Don Vandergriff III: Themes in the Adaptive Leadership Methodology

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Don Vandergriff III: Themes in the Adaptive Leadership Methodology

In a long blog post (which seems to be the source of the article I discussed yesterday), Don Vandergriff and Fred Leland, a lieutenant in the Walpole (MA) Police Department and a security consultant, discuss the Adaptive Leadership Methodology (ALM) in detail.

Some of their key points have been covered in my previous posts. Today I'd like to note the three themes that they identify as applying to all Adaptive Leadership scenarios:
  • "[S]tudents learn to approach their analysis of the terrain (or tactical environment) and the opponent (criminal) with the objective of identifying that which they can use to their advantage. With respect to the enemy (criminal element), we teach our students to identify enemy strengths (which they must avoid) and weaknesses (which they must exploit)."

  • "[I]t is vital that students understand the long term consequences of their immediate actions. This requires the ability to operate within the framework of their higher headquarters 'Commander’s Intent.' In order to reinforce this concept, students see orders as 'contracts' between senior and subordinate. The higher commander assigns a mission (the short term contract) with the understanding that the subordinate leader will be allowed maximum latitude in figuring out exactly how he will accomplish that mission. The only stipulation is that the subordinate leader’s 'solution' must not violate the Commander’s Intent. This intent constitutes the long term contract between senior and subordinate. Ethical conduct and adherence to the Rules of Engagement (ROE) are always part of the Commander’s Intent, and this serves to emphasize the often strategic-level consequences of actions at the lowest levels."

  • "ALM-based courses [focus] on the way that 'tactics' are defined. In ALM-based courses, instructors describe tactics as unique 'solutions' to specific problems, not tasks or drills that must be executed through doctrinal formulas or set procedures. Following fixed rules not only results in predictability, it quickly becomes an excuse for not thinking. Since courses using ALM focus on 'how to think' about tactical problem-solving, while developing an individual’s competence and confidence, anything that discourages creative thought has no place in its curriculum."
Leland and Vandergriff cite William Lind's theory of "maneuver warfare" as the basis for these themes. Lind's theory is spelled out in his 1985 Maneuver Warfare Handbook.


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