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OCs/COs Hours, split from Re: Comparing the [Infantry] Regiments

pbi

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paracowboy said:
they're stupid? They'd rather whine and ***** and snivel than actually do something productive?

You go, paracowboy! I'm loving this thread on troops speaking up: brings back memories of times now long behind me. I agree 100% that smokers/OC's hours/bitch sessions are an ancient and honorable tradition. While I must say that as far as I know, most Canadians soldiers NEVER have a problem speaking up (usually you can't get the buggers to shut up... ;) ), I have gone through a couple of those embarassing and frustrating staring sessions, on the OC's side of the fence. I think there are two major causes:

a) the troops don't know you very well yet, so they are not trusting enough to say much, and anyway they haven't seen you do your business so they don't know if you'll listen and take positive action or just parrot the party line; or

b)  more rarely, but much worse: you actually have a serious morale problem-the troops have given up on you, or something is poisoning the group morale. You can sometimes (not always) detect this. If you do, you better get with your CSM quick and figure out what's up. Re-opening the lines once they're shut can be difficult.

A good way to avoid this problem is to work hard on building the officer/NCO relationship, based on honesty and respect. The OC has to give the CSM his turf and stay clear of it, and the CSM has to back up the OC and use the NCO net to keep a pulse on feelings in the company. In any unit or subunit, if the CO and RSM, or OC/CSM set the example for a straightforward, no sh*t relationship, I bet you that things will work much better all around, and when you do have OCs hour you may not get alot of gripes. but the ones you get will be genuine because they will believe that you care and you'll do something.

Cheers
 

Scoobie Newbie

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I think troops don't speak up for a couple of reasons. 
1.  They aren't educated enough in the system (generally new guys), so they don't know what's relevent and what's not, or they don't know anything other then keeping step and care and maintence of a C7/C9.
2.  Troops would rather put up with some smuck who will most likely stick around for no more then 2 years in which there is little contact then get a black mark on their name (this is in reference to OC's and don't tell retribution from on high doesn't happen).
 

pbi

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Lone Wolf Quagmire said:
I2.  Troops would rather put up with some smuck who will most likely stick around for no more then 2 years in which there is little contact then get a black mark on their name (this is in reference to OC's and don't tell retribution from on high doesn't happen).

Do you actually know of a situation in which a soldier got "a black mark on their name" for speaking up at OC's hour or some other forum like that? Or did he get it for some other reason?

Cheers
 

Scoobie Newbie

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OT paper work gets delayed, phone orderlies out of the blue so yeah it pays not to make waves.
 

pbi

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So, if troops do have something worthwhile to say, how should they get it across? Or should they just hunker down, shut up and wait it out? I mean, troops do have legitimate complaints and good ideas, right? So if not at OC's hours or times like that, when?

Cheers
 

Teflon

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Now being a WO I know I haven’t been to an “OC’s hour” in quite some time (OC’s hours being traditionally a time for the troops to discuss their concerns and ideas with the company commander) but with my experience attending Ogrps at various levels and the inevitable visits to my CSM’s office afterwards I with high confidence say that in many instances much of the negative fallout from “speaking out” at such a forum comes from how one expresses his discontent or idea. If one chooses to express his/her idea or discontent in an overtly aggressive manner right out of the gate and it comes across to the receiver (the OC in the forum of an OC’s hour) as a personnel attack (i.e.: casting unwarranted blame from the receiver’s perspective) then the OC is going to react in a negative and defensive manner with aggression to match the delivery.
In short weather you think the OC is at fault or not if you express it as a fight right off the start, it’s a fight you will most likely get.

Now I’m not saying that there isn’t any petty, spiteful poor excuses for leaders out there but it is been my experience that they are not the norm and if one expresses his/her concerns in a level headed and open minded manner instead of “picking a fight” there might be a chance of getting a beneficial result. Keep in mind also that you should also be prepared to be open minded about the answer you get. If it isn’t the answer you wanted, think about it before you write it off as “toeing the party line” or dodging the question at hand.

Once again this is just what I have picked up in my long experience of dealing and expressing myself to my commanders and in the MANY long and often one sided conversations I have endured in my CSM’s office.

In the end – if something is wrong in your mind, if it doesn’t come out it doesn’t even have a chance of getting fixed or explained. So express it and do so in a manner that encourages resolution.
 

Scoobie Newbie

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Teflon your right in that how the message is delivered can dilute the value of the question if the OC can't see past person asking the question.  I have also noticed in my later years that those above me often have the same questions that get batted around turning say a Snr Nco's mess dinner.  What troubles me though is that it seems the higher up the chain you go the less you know (as in the loop).
As far as getting concerns across well I think it would help if the CSM wasn't there, as he is seen as the disciplinarian.  Granted he may be the one with answers but I think their presence (or RSM at a CO's hour) hinders frank discussion.
 

Teflon

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Lone Wolf

I can't recall the CSM ever being at an OC's our in my unit (any snr NCO for that matter) Ref my conversations with the CSM that I refered to all stemmed from my approach during OGrps not OC's hours just to be clear.

What troubles me though is that it seems the higher up the chain you go the less you know (as in the loop).

I am interested in what loop you are refering to,... what the troops are thinking loop prehaps?

 

Scoobie Newbie

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The loop being the normal run of things.  Ie Sgt what's going on?  I don't know what have YOU heard.
Every CO's hour has had the RSM present.  I think 65-75% of OC's hour had the CSM present.  Its been awhile mind you since I had one but to the best of my memory that's what I remember to be true.
 

Teflon

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Lone Wolf Quagmire said:
The loop being the normal run of things.  Ie Sgt what's going on?  I don't know what have YOU heard.
Every CO's hour has had the RSM present.  I think 65-75% of OC's hour had the CSM present.  Its been awhile mind you since I had one but to the best of my memory that's what I remember to be true.

Well with the exception of those snr NCOs on task or just comming back from task (which is pretty much most of them here in my unit) the one around pretty much know what's in the works but hey that's when there's something to know

As to the OC's hours well,... your unit seems to do it differently then mine, unless we are confusing OC's hours with OC briefings on some topic which in the case of briefing the CSM would be present over here
 

seamus

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I would have to agree with Teflon. If your going to make a statement in a OC's hour it should be intelligent and thought out. You should also be prepared for an answer that is not what you wanted to hear due to reasons that you were unaware. When a troop comes up with the statement "This idea is stupid." And when asked why, the answer is "Cause it is." I would expect that line of questioning to be shut down by the CSM. I have yet to see someone blacklisted at any hour, for any rank. and I was there when a MCpl told the CDS he had wasted 1200 man hours of work by being late for a meeting. And nothing permanently happened to him.
 

KevinB

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seamus said:
I have yet to see someone blacklisted at any hour, for any rank. and I was there when a MCpl told the CDS he had wasted 1200 man hours of work by being late for a meeting. And nothing permanently happened to him.
yeah but Murph had his OT in already  ;)

I've seen a CSM in an OC's hour -- the OC however asked him to leave (and then he scowled thru the glass at people  ::)).
 
 

seamus

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He may have had his OT already in, but still nothing happened, besides it was hilarious. I know our Sgt Major at the time laughed for the rest of the afternoon.
 

But back on topic how many times when you were a troop, did you have to sit through twenty stupid questions by fellow troops to get to one good one. And really was happy when the CSM would sum up the stupidity to keep the question line relative. If it was a touchy subject, as you stated I have also seen the OC kick out the CSM. If he looked back through the window there was obviously a problem and the OC was getting to the bottom of it. Even with all of this I have still not seen someone get permanent career damage from a meeting.
 

PPCLI Guy

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Lone Wolf Quagmire said:
Every CO's hour has had the RSM present.  I think 65-75% of OC's hour had the CSM present.  Its been awhile mind you since I had one but to the best of my memory that's what I remember to be true.

In 1 VP the CO has his with only the Cpl/Ptes.  No one else in the chain of command is there.
 

KevinB

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PPCLI Guy said:
In 1 VP the CO has his with only the Cpl/Ptes.  No one else in the chain of command is there.

Yeah, I heard the current CO is a pretty cool guy  ;)
 

Wookilar

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I believe (but my memory does suck a bit), that I only remember 1 2 OC's Hours with a CSM present in all the time I was with 1 VP (98-05), and I don't recall an issue at either one of those (Well, one 'whistle-head' comment was sorted out, but that was good comic relief). CO's Hours were more rare. Lots of briefs, sitting on the floor, watching our training plan on the wall  :p, but I do not recall a lot of CO's Hours specifically. In 5 years with the circus before that, I remember 2 total, 1 before the move to Edmonton and 1 after.

In Adm Coy, we always appreciated OC's Hours, especially depending on our leadership at the time. There was rarely any whining about having to attend and if there was, it was from the usual suspects. I can't speak for the Rifle Coy's, but I know we never held back much (grease monkey's don't tend to be shrinking violets).

To this day, I still feel sorry for the OC we had while we were in Kosovo (that was an interesting OC's hour, near the end of the tour).

Wook
 

TheHead

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I've been to many Platoon Commander/OC  hours and ONE CO hour (in 1 VP) during the last 3-4 years.  Not ONCE was there an NCO, it was always PTEs and CPLs.   
It's true though when people say you have to go through 20 questions bitching and complaining before one good one gets heard (The boys from C Coy 1PPCLI know about this ;) )

 
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