EL PASO, TX-Praevius Group held one of the firm’s most important events of the year-the APET III Workshop at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, or USASMA, Sept. 14 – 16.
“Our mission is to equip leaders with the tools and techniques they need to be better leaders. We want to make an enduring impact that will leave a legacy.” said Praevius Group’s Brandon Cates.
The focus of the three-day workshop was to equip Sergeants Major instructors with the tools they need to teach Army Profession of Ethics Training, or APET, courses and to ensure younger generations of soldiers get a proper foundation for Army ethics and professional development.
More than 96 people attended the event, but nearly the whole Army will be impacted by the training. Workshop participants were Sergeants Major Academy instructors who teach and train future Sergeants Major attending an 10-month training at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX. After attending the program and being taught by instructors, SGMs will then be sent out to lead and train soldiers around the world.
“The course was meant to challenge instructors of Sergeants Major to model techniques and the best practices for equipping their own students, incorporating character and ethical growth in all portions of education-giving their students more than just a one-time event,” Praevius Group’s Jamey Gadoury said.
Gadoury served as event organizer and small group facilitator. He said the curriculum was part of the ongoing Profession of Arms campaign.
“The course focused on professional identity, army culture, army ethic, character development and a capstone exercise that challenged participants on how they could impact their culture at the course so that their students have the most meaningful experience possible,” he said.
Praevius Group believes working progressively with this targeted audience will affect the entire profession.
“Sergeants Major are exponentially powerful and impactful,” Cates said. “They go out into the Army and the mentality spreads, multiplying overnight.”
Facilitators look forward to seeing the long-term outcome of the event.
“Hopefully Sergeants Major will be able to talk deeply on concepts of the Profession of Arms,” Gadoury said. “As commanders, they need to be able to effectively dialog with their command groups and with soldiers by interpreting information in every day terms as well as expanding and talking about deeper concepts.”
Praevius Group’s focus on leader development is in support of the U.S. Army’s Profession of Arms campaign. This movement was established in May 2008 as an effort to “assess, study, and refine the Profession of Arms” by “accelerating professional and character development in individuals, units, and Army culture through training, education and leader development,” according to the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic’s (CAPE) website. CAPE is an army-level asset that supports the Army as a whole and is located at West Point.
CAPE organizes a series of courses on education and development of leaders, encouraging participants at every level to discuss principals and theories, and develop their own character and the character of those around them.
Praevius Group provides CAPE with training and educational programs, and products for soldiers and leaders. Praevius Group team members served as speakers, course coordinators and small-group facilitators for this specific event, helping develop curriculum to identify particular to SGM needs.
“Due to our past experience in leadership and with the diverse experiences of our team members, CAPE trusts Praevius to support their mission … and aggressive campaign,” Gadoury said.
Praevius Group knows it will face some resistance from soldiers who think the Profession of Arms Campaign is “just a fad” or the “latest Chief’s initiative,” but hopes that working through the Sergeants Major will help reduce this resistance.
“Our vision is to give greater understanding of the Profession of Arms,” Cates said. “But there is a lot of cynicism we have to overcome. We have to try and breakdown barriers and get people to want to learn. Participants have an unbelievable depth of experience. At their core, they know and understand the concepts we deliver in these workshops. We challenge them to think about those concepts in a new way and renew their commitment to truly be a steward of the Profession.”
The course was taught and facilitated by a variety of professionals with different backgrounds and a broad range of expertise. Key speakers included: Mr. Gus Lee, COL (Ret.) Dr. Jo LeBoeuf, BG (Ret.) Becky Halstead, COL Eric Schacht, SGM Dave Stewart and Mr. Colby Jenkins.
Praevius Group’s Gadoury said the company brought in the highest quality speakers with contributable experiences. “We had nationally known speakers and authors which were an important part of it,” he said. “We customized concepts and theories of CAPE into a curriculum that was targeted for this specific audience.”
Gadoury said it’s important the curriculum is built around the audience’s needs. Facilitators and speakers used professionalism, combined military experiences and their expertise to successfully communicate with the SGM instructors.
Presentations and subject matter included: Professional Identity, The Profession of Arms Foundational Concepts, Army Culture, Civilian Military Relations, Army Ethic and Character Development, and the story of a “Journey of a Wounded Warrior.”
“Participants left this workshop with concrete techniques and plans to implement the concepts in their next cycle of Sergeants Major students,” Cates said. “The SGM instructors saw and … understood that they have a huge impact on the Army at large. Sergeants Major are the stewards of the profession-they ensure the younger generation of soldiers get a proper foundation in the Profession of Arms.”
The team delivered this message through various modes, including tangible strategies and classroom techniques. Activities included small-group discussions, large-group lectures and simulations.
Participants were responsive to the messages. Cates described the typical SGM learner as “extremely passionate” and displaying an “obvious care for the Profession of Arms.”
Catalyst for the event, SGM David Stewart from the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, said the course did affect Sergeants Major Academy Instructors.
“I know for a fact having spoken to a few instructors that it definitely impacted their thought process on the whole character development piece,” Stewart said. ‘’The effects in the classroom were almost immediate as instructors were implementing the material Praevius gave us the day after the class.”
Stewart said the course was a transformational development of the Profession of Arms rather than a 3-day event.
“The course was spot on,” Stewart said. “The only way our soldiers are going to buy-in to the Profession is for our leaders to not only talk it, but walk it at the same time.” This course prepared leaders for just that.
The APET III Workshop at USASMA is just a piece of what Praevius Group does. The firm supports the Army in other ways, too.
Cates said, “We all have a special dedication to soldiers and … believe our work will truly have a lasting impact on the organization we all love.”