Change of Command Speech Success
You have heard that you simply only have one probability to create a primary impression. You understand that your change of command speech is essential and that it’s going to immediately form a primary impression together with your chain of command, subordinates, and peers and you need to make certain that you simply knock it out of the park, right? Below I’ll reveal some easy techniques and observations that can enable you to deliver a change of command speech that resonates.
Short and Sweet
First, keep it short. Understand that the intent of the change of command ceremony is to permit subordinates to witness the formality of adjusting command from one officer to a different. You will have a whole lot of observations on leadership or need to share your command philosophy, but save those topics for an additional time (like during your first company formation or meeting after you are in command – a subject that I’ll address more intimately in subsequent articles). The maxim to, “be temporary, be good, and be gone” is in full effect here. With an understanding of the aim of the ceremony in mind, the final rule seems to carry that you must keep your speech at two minutes or less. Not an actual science, and nothing written anywhere, but two minutes appears to be about right. Imagine me, nobody within the audience, to incorporate your boss, wants to sit down through an extended speech from you because the incoming commander. Trust me.
Second, give credit and honor to those whom it’s due. Thank those distinguished visitors who’re in attendance, thank your spouse, and thank the outgoing commander at a minimum. You will be an outgoing commander at some point, too, and he’ll appreciate the deference you are giving to him. Most significantly, nevertheless, is that your Soldiers and superiors will recognize the hat tip. Having the attribute of being a, “good guy” out of your Soldiers right off means lots.
Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse!
Third, rehearse your change of command speech. It should come as no surprise that you could rehearse your speech prior to delivering it. You wish to convey the impression to everyone, but most significantly your Soldiers, that you simply really care concerning the ceremony and taking command. Simply put, your speech is critical to conveying that impression, so you must rehearse. I’d recommend that you simply practice the speech to the purpose that you simply are comfortably accustomed to it, but short of really memorizing it. Your speech is a high stress event, so you don’t need to memorize it and risk blanking out at any a part of the speech. Have the speech typed as much as size 12 or larger and printed out. If there is a book or binder at the rostrum so that you can put your speech into, then that works perfectly. If not, simply store a 4×6″ notecard at the rostrum together with your speech handwritten on it and pull it out when it is your turn. It’s as easy as that!
An Easy Transition
Finally, there appears to be an unwritten rule to conclude your speech with something along the lines of, “all policies and procedures remain in effect.” I can not find that statement to be dictated by any regulation, but I’ve also never not heard it in any incoming commander’s speech. It might thoroughly be one among those, “unwritten rules” that has taken the authority through common practice over time, however it also looks like a reasonably good practice in the event you give it some thought. The phrase provides you with an accepted way of letting your subordinates know that your intent shouldn’t be to are available in and make radical changes in your first day, and so they’ll appreciate it.
One last piece of recommendation on this topic. Understand that each Battalion or Squadron Commander has his way that he likes to see things done, and your boss can have some directed guidance on what he desires to see or hear or see from you. If he offers some directed guidance to you, then your job is all the simpler. If not, ask your fellow commanders if there’s any unwritten guidance that you could follow. If there is no, then your job is pretty easy. Just keep my above points in mind and you will deliver a change of command speech that resonates and sets you up for fulfillment in your upcoming command!
This text is my very own opinion and doesn’t constitute an endorsement, opinion, or official position of the Department of Defense or of the U.S. Army.