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Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning

We believe that the Army profession is effective only to the degree that its members take responsibility for it, engage in the collective conversation that shapes it, and see themselves as being connected to their fellow warriors-past, present, and future. The profession is like a powerful river-in constant motion as it gains new Soldiers and loses experienced ones-its members learning and innovating as they engage with a rapidly changing environment.

One way that leaders are connecting in conversation is through online professional forums (aka online communities) like the Company Command (CC) and Platoon Leader (PL) forums. These forums bring together leaders from across the Army to share ideas and experiences and to improve our collective effectiveness. The PL forum specifically also gives cadets at West Point and in ROTC unprecedented access to the ongoing conversation of the profession they are preparing to join. It is like having a four-year CTLT experience plugged into a living curriculum grounded in the cutting-edge, current experiences of actual platoon leaders.

By engaging in professional forums like the PL forum, leaders gain access to knowledge-however, more powerfully for the profession, they gain a platform to share their ideas, lessons learned, and wisdom born of experience. They are enabled to be professionals on a scale never before possible.

The stories and examples we are seeing depict a profession that is advancing toward an exciting future-one marked by leaders who see professional forums like the CC forum not just as a place to get something or even to "give back," but as a place where the profession grows.