The Operations Officer Trap

Falling in Love with the Plan

What is the worst trap an operations officer can fall into? From my perspective, it is falling in love with the plan. Anyone who has been an S3, planner, or action officer knows the emotion that I am describing here. It occurs in the moment when someone attempts to provide constructive comments, and you take the side of “the plan” instead of listening to their perspective. You instinctively shield “the plan” like a protective parent sheltering their child from the rain. After years of planning all kinds of things, I still find myself falling into this trap from time to time. Here are three thoughts to help with perspective in planning:

Pilots from 2nd Battalion (Assault), 2nd Aviation Regiment and 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, flew in more than 300 Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines, on 25 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for an air assault, March 13, 2014, on the multipurpose range complex.

March 13, 2014 – Photo courtesy of Christopher Bodin

Win Friends and Influence People as a Field Grade Leader

A Guest Post by Kyle Trottier

If you are going to close the deal, generate and preserve options, and enable units to accomplish their mission, you must understand how to handle people. Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People” proposes three principles to handle people: 1) Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain; 2) Give honest and sincere appreciation; and 3) Arouse in the other person an eager want. By applying these principles, field grade leaders will be better prepared to successfully improve their organizations and lead their units towards mission accomplishment.

.S. military personnel assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, along with French Foreign Legion soldiers, attend a desert commando course in Arta, Djibouti. Through unified action with U.S. and international partners in East Africa, CJTF-HOA conducts security force assistance, executes military engagement, provides force protection, and provides military support to regional counter-violent extremist organization operations in order to support aligned regional efforts, ensure regional access and freedom of movement, and protect U.S. interests.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Barry Loo