By Kevin Cude
Photo courtesy of DVIDS and taken by Capt. Adan Cazarez.
The team room has drastically changed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allowed the opportunity for company and team leadership to find new and innovative ways to train in preparation for deployment. Teleworking and virtual training can have a positive or negative impact on a team. Face-to-face time has been significantly less and finding ways to continue to build the team dynamics and gain a
better understanding of the team has been a task. This difficulty is especially pronounced for tactical and engagement training which hinders teams from gaining the
necessary skills to push forward for deployment. The best way to understand a
teammate is to work with them in person and figure out how they conduct themselves in a given situation. This awareness allows the trainer to adjust procedure and determine the necessary means to improve performance. Understanding the different platforms for communication and the different training opportunities for teams during the pandemic was key to maximizing available training time.
COVID-19 changed the ways teams communicate. There have been many
platforms that have been tried throughout the pandemic, some more successful than
others. For my organization it began with DCS and progressed through Slack, Signal,
WICKR, and finally Microsoft Teams. These platforms allowed for consistent
communication whether by video or cell phone. Allowing teams to have that constant
face-to-face contact ensured they were still conducting the necessary training in
preparation for deployment. Teams have found that Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft
Teams are amazing tools, especially when working remotely on the same products.
These platforms grant the ability to have multiple people editing the same document at
one time, which is invaluable when developing products for Mission Analysis or a
planning exercise. Both tools facilitate remote collaboration without continuously
updating master slides or trackers. The tools to work remotely and still maintain
consistent collaboration have become more important during the pandemic. This time
can truly make or break a team, illuminating the team members who are going to put in a full effort and those who are not. It also highlighted property deficiencies. When not all
members have a government issued computer it takes additional time and planning to
ensure that everyone is on the same page no matter where the location. Utilizing the
different tools and just going back to basic communication allows those teams to
continue on the right track as they prepare for future deployments.
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