Today, we’re doing to cover Army NCODP topics, ideas, subjects, and classes. Let’s begin by discussing what NCODP is and why it is important.
The purpose of the Army NCODP (Non Commissioned Officer Developmental Program) is to educate and develop Army NCOs for positions of greater responsibility.
The NCODP program is managed by the senior enlisted soldier in the unit (the First Sergeant or Sergeant’s Major). This person is responsible for planning the program, assigning instructors, choosing topics, and making sure the classes are scheduled, executed, and conducted on time and to standard.
In the regular Army, the NCODP is executed once per month whereas in the ARNG and USAR, it typically happens once every 90-days.
Sometimes the training is in a classroom environment. In other cases, the unit might conduct a site visit or conduct training in the field. In my experience, I’ve found that the best sessions are out in the field, away from the armory, where there are fewer distractions.
For many units, NCODP is nothing but a training requirement. Sure, the training takes place, but it seldom goes “above and beyond” what is required. It simply isn’t a big priority in the unit.
On the other hand, some units have a phenomenal NCODP where leaders are developed, groomed, and nurtured. The classes are entertaining, fun, and educational. This happens because the person in charge takes pride and personal responsibility in the program and goes the extra mile to ensure the training is well prepared and well executed.
In the paragraphs below, I’d like to share some of my favorite tips with you so your unit can have an effective Army NCODP.
Tips for Success with Your Army NCDOP
Listed below are my best tips for success to have an effective Army NCODP in your unit.
# 1: Plan The Training Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your NCODP. Put some serious thought into it and give your instructors plenty of time to prepare. The more time you can give them to prepare, the better. Whenever you “wing it” the training won’t go well.
# 2: Determine What Training Your NCOs Need
If you’re looking for ideas for topics, spend a few minutes and list the weakness of each of your subordinate NCOs. That will give you some great training ideas. You can also survey your NCOs to get topics and ideas for future classes.
# 3: Practice & Rehearse
Rehearsals are key. If you are leading a class, make sure you rehearse and practice ahead of time, so it goes smoothly. If you are overseeing the class, in a supervisory role, make sure your trainer or instructor is prepared. Role play with them, if necessary, and make sure they have the resources they need to succeed.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
~ Colin Powell
# 4: Take the Training Offsite
I’ve found that when you stuff everyone in a classroom, and they have their cell phones with them, it’s easy to have distractions. People come in and interrupt the training, phones ring, and it just doesn’t go as smoothly as it should. However, when you are in the field, away from the armory, you have people’s undivided attention.
# 5: Assign Different Trainers
You don’t want the same person doing the training month-after-month. Mix things up and give everyone a chance to teach a class. This improves their skills and keeps things interesting at the same time.
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
~ General George S. Patton
# 6: Get Maximum Participation
Make the training MANDATORY for all NCOs. Don’t let your subordinates come up with reasons why they can’t attend the training. If you let them do that, you will have a lot of people come up with excuses and miss the training.
# 7: Schedule Army NCODP During Non-Productive Time
Make sure you are smart about scheduling your NCODP. Look for opportunities in the training calendar that DO NOT interfere with major training events.
Example Army NCODP Topics
There are countless subjects you can use for your Army NCODP. Listed below are a few examples just to get you thinking. We have them sorted by category to make it easier.
Health & Wellness
- Losing Weight
- How to Run Faster
- Proper Nutrition
- How to Max the APFT
- How to Stay in Shape After 40
- Weightlifting Tips
- Time Management Tips
- Career Tips & Mistakes to Avoid
- Promotion Board Tips
- DA Photo Tips
- Managing Your ERB
- How to Write Awards
- How to Map Out Your Career
- Saving Money for Retirement
- Debt Reduction Strategies
- Thrift Savings Plan Overview
- How to Buy a Home
- Budgeting Ideas
- How to be a Better Leader
- Communication Skills
- Team Building
- Delegation and Empowerment
- Conflict Resolution
- How to Run a Meeting Effectively
- Counseling Subordinates
- Maintenance Operations
- Supply Operations
- TOC/JOC Operations
- Convoy Operations
- How to Run a Weapons Range
- Radio Etiquette
- Book Review
- Movie Review
- Review a Famous Battle or War
- Case Studies of Successful Leaders
Once again, you are only limited to your creativity. If you are stuck on ideas, talk with a trusted peer or ask your subordinates what subjects they would find most beneficial.
In conclusion, Army NCODP is not just a requirement. It’s also an effective way to train your subordinate NCOs for positions of increased responsibility. When done effectively, it’s a wonderful way to learn new ideas, improve the unit’s camaraderie, and improve morale. Your key to success is to have someone in charge of the program who takes pride in what they do, is proactive, and develops a solid plan to schedule, execute, and assess the program in your unit.
I’d love to close out this post with a quote from CSM Coleman, Jr.:
Bottom line up front, establishing a strong Noncommissioned Officer Development Program within your unit will have a positive effect on everything your unit does. This command responsibility should not be taken lightly and can, with effort by everyone involved, enhance combat effectiveness and build better leaders.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to develop our Soldiers in a manner that will set them up for success and ensure our Army’s success well into the future. NCODP is part of that process. A well-run program will help your unit develop agile and flexible NCOs that are capable of leading Soldiers in any environment and under any conditions. ~ Fort Hood Sentinel
On a side note, I would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts about Army NCODP? What subjects would you recommend? What tips could you recommend to unit leaders to improve their program? Just leave a comment to share your ideas. Thank you.
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Former Army Major (resigned)
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