Harvesting the bounty of the IDEAL program

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By Sarah Aubouin

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself.” – Denis Waitley, motivational speaker

Investing in training and developmental programs is one way that Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) professionals are becoming the “IDEAL” leaders to support our Soldiers. Taking the time to learn competencies is especially critical in supervisory and leadership roles.

Inspiring and Developing Excellence in Acquisition Leaders (IDEAL) is an Army DACM Office leadership development program for AAW civilians at GS-11 through GS-13 (or equivalent) with identified leadership and supervisory potential. IDEAL prepares midcareer professionals for positions where they will lead people, teams and other workgroups.

The program is having a positive impact on our workforce, both in their professional lives and in their personal relationships. We spoke with some recent IDEAL graduates who shared their experiences from the program, and here’s what they had to say:

“During the second week, we focused on the crucial conversations training. This was, by far, my favorite lesson throughout the entire course. This course helped me to develop confidence so that having a confrontational conversation is no longer as intimidating. Through the different courses that are taught in the IDEAL course, you learn how to take the emotion out of essential discussions with your team and leadership so you can solve disagreements, yet everyone feels that their opinion is valued and considered when coming up with the solution.”
—Krysta Zurowski, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Huntsville, Alabama

“[IDEAL] covered so many aspects of the challenges we face as leaders. It showed us how to recognize certain behaviors and how to appropriately respond to those. It also showed us how our reactions impact the behavior of others. We played a game where each table made up a team and we would have to answer questions from the material across the entire program. I love games and we laughed a lot while still learning a great deal.”
—Chelsea Whitten, USACE, Vicksburg, Mississippi

“I had a significant moment of clarity learning new soft skills and how we cannot expect to change overnight. We will not see drastic changes upfront but if we continue to remain consistent with what we are trying to change, over time we will see improvements in ourselves. [The instructor] was only speaking to this subject for a few minutes, and those few minutes really altered my reality.”
—Rob Briar, Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Florida

“Having time between the weeks in the program to go back to the office or home and try out some of the skills discussed was invaluable. These breaks gave us the opportunity to reflect on the skills discussed and try out the skills in real-life situations. The program covered several key skills that I have used in the workplace to improve relationships with my co-workers and make us more efficient as a team, not to mention the improvements in my personal relationships.”
—Chad Daly, Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville

IDEAL is sponsored by the Army DACM Office, with the U.S. Army Acquisition Center of Excellence providing classroom instruction and facilitation. The next round of selectees will begin the program in March 2019 at either Warren, Michigan, or Washington, D.C. For more information, go to https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/inspiring-and-developing-excellence-in-acquisition-leaders-ideal/

 


This article is published in the April-May 2019 issue of Army AL&T magazine.

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