A Change for Drill Sergeants?
US Army Officer Captain Richard Swift was the newly-appointed commander of a 100-person Basic Combat Training unit, whose mission was to train brand new enlistees in the Army. Swift sensed malaise within his team of drill sergeants, who led the majority of the training. Swift was concerned that these instructors, with an average service of 13 years in the Army and multiple combat deployments, were no longer motivated to do their best and had lost sight of the importance of their work. He wanted to change this. He wanted to increase the sergeants' professionalism and motivation, as these drill sergeants not only taught the basic combat classes, but also were the first faces that recruits saw when beginning their Army careers. Unwilling to accept mediocrity or mission failure in turning recruits into soldiers, Swift arranged for a training consultant team to visit his unit at Fort Benning, Georgia in March 2016. He wanted the consultants to emphasize the importance of training, to underscore how drill sergeants could design and execute better learning modules, and to professionalize drill sergeants' work by having them consider metrics or measurements to evaluate their job performance as trainers. In April 2016, after the workshop's conclusion, Swift received the consultants' raw data as compiled from the pre- and post-survey instruments completed by his drill sergeants. Swift had to combine his own expertise as an Army officer with the workshop data to effectively lead change and improve the operation of his unit.