The Army is rolling out a new program to ensure senior enlisted sustainers have access to a deliberate, focused and balanced talent management program.
Led by the Army Materiel Command, the Senior Sustainment Leader Talent Management program is being developed by Command Sgt. Maj. Alberto Delgado, AMC’s senior enlisted adviser. Delgado said he saw a need for the program to groom and mentor the Army’s future leaders.
“It’s our job as senior leaders to ensure that the next generation is ready to take the mantle when their time comes,” he said. “I always ask people ‘who do you mentor’ or ‘who is your mentor?’ I’m seeing less and less people can answer that. It’s becoming a lost art, but I believe that you can’t be successful if you only talk to people at your same level.”
Delgado said the talent management program starts with putting the ownership on AMC’s senior noncommissioned officers to honestly assess those in their ranks. He has provided each of AMC’s major subordinate commands with “baseball cards” to fill out for every command sergeant major and sergeant major in their organization. These cards are intended to provide leaders with a more holistic view on the Soldier through a candid and unbiased assessment, he said.
“It’s about getting to know your people and understanding what their strengths, weaknesses and experiences are,” Delgado said. “You have to be honest. If someone is not carrying their weight, you need to let them know. We have an obligation to provide feedback and help them become better Soldiers.”
The cards include a Soldier’s and commander’s assessment of strengthens and weaknesses, as well as what positions they believe they can best serve the Army in. The baseball cards are the first step of the talent management program, to encourage starting the relationship and conversation. Delgado said the cards will provide him deeper insight and perspective as he meets with the materiel enterprise’s enlisted leaders.
“I really count on my subordinate leaders to keep me updated and help identify the rising stars,” he said. “Sometimes we can forget that this is a team sport, but we need to rely on each other to make sure we are recognizing and mentoring talent.”
An essential part of Delgado’s talent management program is his 3Rs leadership philosophy, which outlines the three things that have helped him become successful – respect, reputation and relationships.
“When I say respect, it’s not about a position, it goes both ways. You need to respect everyone around you from the highest to the lowest ranking person,” he said. “Reputation and relationships are all about trust and doing what you say you are doing to do.”
Delgado said it is essential that the Army focuses on getting the right people in the right jobs, and that starts with communicating at echelon and ensuring information is traveling from the Army senior leaders to the formations.
“Every leader needs to be communicating two levels down, the more you share the better equipped people are to accomplish the mission,” he said. “You need to embrace sergeant major of the Army’s concept of ‘This is My Squad’ and take care of the people around you. Get to know your people, take the time get out from behind a desk and into the motor pool. We are all busy but we can’t use that as an excuse, this is making an investment in people and the Army’s future.”