Recently I had the opportunity to review a course for Company Commanders in the Army National Guard or Army Reserves. The course is entitled Part-Time Commander: How to Lead a Company in the National Guard or Army Reservesby Charles “Chuck” Holmes.
Chuck and I have a professional relationship and occasionally communicate with each other. We are both passionate about helping Leaders and Soldiers better themselves within their chosen profession. What follows is my opinion of the course content and structure.
The Part-Time Commander Course contains three CDs. One CD features the PDF version of the book and the two other CDs contain audio files with several hours of content.
The book is divided into five parts and contains 27 chapters. It covers specifics areas of interest while providing valuable experience into the specifics of commanding within the Guard or Reserve. The table of contents includes:
Part One: Before You Take Command
Chapter 1: What it Takes to Be an Effective Company Commander
Chapter 2: Managing Your Career Before Company Command
Chapter 3: Applying & Interviewing For Command
Chapter 4: Conducting Your Inventory
Chapter 5: Left-Seat-Right-Seat Ride
Chapter 6: Change-of-Command Ceremony
Part Two: Your First Year in Command
Chapter 7: Your First IDT Weekend
Chapter 8: Your First 90 Days
Chapter 9: Working with Your AGR Staff
Chapter 10: Balancing Command, Family Time & Work Life
Chapter 11: Your Typical Monthly Schedule
Part Three: The Big Things
Chapter 12: Training Management
Chapter 13: Unit Administration
Chapter 14: Unit Supply
Chapter 15: Unit Maintenance
Chapter 16: Retention
Chapter 17: Physical Fitness
Chapter 18: Family Readiness
Part Four: Effective Leadership
Chapter 19: Your Ultimate Purpose
Chapter 20: Establishing Priorities
Chapter 21: Effective Time Management
Chapter 22: Developing Leaders
Chapter 23: Soldier Recognition
Chapter 24: Running Meetings
Part Five: Leaving a Legacy
Chapter 25: Taking Your Organization to the Next level
Chapter 26: Knowing When to Leave Command
Chapter 27: Life after Command
To my knowledge, this is the only publication and audio book available for individuals assuming Command in the Guard or Reserves. Chuck has a unique military experience since he was has served as an enlisted Soldier and officer in both the Active Duty Army and Army National Guard. He also served in the Army Reserves.
Throughout the book he articulates the areas a Commander needs to focus on while simultaneously providing personal experience. The personal experience in my opinion is of significant value as frequently individuals in the Guard and Reserve do not usually have someone to assist them in preparing for the demanding position of Commander.
Chuck has done an outstanding job of outlining how to be a successful Company Commander, but more importantly, he outlines specific areas that will assist a new commander in how to make a difference within the lives of the Soldiers of the unit while ensuring mission accomplishment. Chuck points out a clear fact that being a Company Commander in the Guard or Reserves is an incredibly demanding job that needs to be taken seriously as failure to do so will result in career failure and/or significant dysfunction within your unit.
I enjoyed numerous sections of the book including:
- Change of Command Inventory- contains some value lessons learned and mistakes to avoid.
- Working with your AGR Staff- contains points of interest in developing a strong relationship with these critical staff members.
- Your 1st Year in Command- provides an outline for success
- Balancing Command, Family Time & Work Life- Chuck understand the need for balance and shares some secrets for success during your time in command.
The most significant value I find in the course is that Chuck freely shares his knowledge and experience and does not sugar coat anything. It’s hard to find a leader that will genuinely share their thoughts freely. Chuck can do this because he has been there and done that. I would strongly encourage any up and coming Commander to obtain a copy of this training course. To learn more about his book and audio course, please visit his website.