2014-01-10 / Spectrum

Keep those who depend on you informed

Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” But what if we took the analogy a step further?

“You can create a water trough, but you can’t make riders lead their horses to it so the horses can decide whether they want to drink.”

Take the Dec. 28, 2013, power outage, for example. It was apparent during the outage that, despite the best efforts of the installation, it still caught some people by surprise. And when we say “the best efforts of the installation,” we mean four consecutive weeks of front page stories in the Signal, numerous posts in social media (including a 10-day countdown on Facebook), stories from virtually every commercial news outlet in the CSRA, fact sheets and information on the installation Web site and distributed to units, command information blasts via email, messages on the post’s electronic marquees, and discussion during leadership staff calls.

In other words, we created the water trough (multiple, repeated sources of information about the outage), many riders (leaders at all levels) led their horses to it, and many horses (the installation’s service members, civilians and family members) drank. But some riders just assumed that the horses would find out about the water, and in turn some horses never found out there was something worthwhile to drink.

We can and should do better.

Here’s a way to start that process. Two months per quarter, the U.S. Army Garrison hosts a Community Information Briefing, usually over lunch at the Gordon Club. During these briefings, leaders from across the garrison inform attendees about the significant programs, policies and events that will affect the community. Anyone can attend, but the intended audience is company commanders, first sergeants and family readiness group leaders.

It’s the classic “train the trainer” model in action; we tell a big group of people what they need to know, and they tell everyone else. But it only works if people show up to get the message.

Be a good rider, and make sure your horses know when there’s water in the trough. Stay informed. Read the Signal, follow us on Facebook, and keep watch on all the other great sources of official information on Fort Gordon. When you find something important, pass it on.

And don’t miss the next Community Information Briefing, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Jan. 15 at the Gordon Club.

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