Sixteen junior officers assembled at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in May 2004 to prepare for the challenging demands and intense scrutiny of life as a flag aide. Prior to this gathering, no official forum existed to prepare officers for their role in supporting their principals and office staffs. Instead, it was understood that these top-performing officers had the wherewithal to create their own crash course to learn their new responsibilities. On-the-job training was the accepted norm.
You've been selected for duty as a flag aide. Now what do you do? Preparation is the key to success, both for you and your boss.
Unfortunately, this worked too well. When an organization collects a group of motivated performers, it has a right to expect each will land on his or her feet and meet the needs of the service. The decades-old policy of on-the-job training was in fact very effective. But, it was also very inefficient.