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How the Army makes leaders.

* Leaders of Character: Leadership the West Point Way, video/DVD, 2003, 36 min., CRM Learning (800-421-0833,, $995. Leader guide, participant guide (10), PowerPoint slides, reminder cards (10), and three "booster shot" emails.

A new video-DVD from CRM Learning, Leaders of Character: Leadership the West Point Way, gives those of us who are not familiar with military training a peek into their process of developing leaders, an approach that can be transferred from the battlefield to the workplace.

The video and DVD contain the same content. The DVD is a bonus in terms of production quality; the other pieces of the package provide resources and follow-up ideas for the facilitator. The CD contains a 15-slide PowerPoint presentation to support the training. The slides include too much information. It almost seems that the producer predetermined the number of slides and tried to jam everything into them.

There are three other PowerPoint presentations called Booster Shots. Each contains information on two of the skills. I think that they would be much more useful if each skill were dealt with in a separate presentation.

The leader guide suggests that the trainer should send one of these per week after the training to each participant and their manager to help everyone focus and practice the skills. In theory, this concept works; however, I believe the approach is too self-directed for the average learner. Individual coaching would be better because it provides just-in-time support. The Booster Shot could provide discussion points for the participant to think about prior to a coaching session.

Whichever course outline the facilitator selects in the leader guide, he or she will be using the video to support the learning activities rather than just playing it for the entire 36 minutes. The design is solid, something that I would expect from any professionally done of-the-shelf program. It allows the materials to be delivered by someone without knowledge of adult learning principles because the activities are already grouped into small sections.

The key points of content are six leadership skills presented in two ways through the video-DVD. For each skill there is an example of the training cadets at West Point receive and a workplace example from former graduates who now work in private industry. This approach works because of the adult learner's desire to see how the information learned can be applied in his or her own work.

New leaders learn best under the guidance and care of more experienced leaders. Leaders of Character from CRM Learning illustrates that point without being direct about it. An astute learning professional can use this video in two ways:

1. To teach the six skills presented in the program

2. To bring executives on board with the understanding that leadership is a process and that they can act as mentors who take the time and care to develop new leaders.

Learning professionals can point out to organizational leaders the key elements from the West Point examples when creating a complete leadership development process. I recommend this video only with the understanding that it should not be used as an event, like attending the workshop or watching the video alone. It should only be used as part of a comprehensive process.

Deanne Bryce ( is principal in a learning and performance organization based near Philadelphia, PA. She partners with organizations to implement leadership development processes linked to desired business results. In addition, she edits ReaderStrength, a monthly e-zine that helps leaders stay current on the latest leadership books.
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Title Annotation:training military personnel
Author:Bryce, Deanne
Publication:Training Media Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Previous Article:More than touchy-feely.
Next Article:Lessons from the master.

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