25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had the chance to sit down with CPO1 Keith Davidson, the incoming College Chief Warrant Officer (CCWO), and get his take on his transition onto the peninsula.
CPO1 Keith Davidson: Immediately upon receiving my posting to the College, I was congratulated on having been selected for such a prestigious position. As I had no prior experience with RMCC and I hadn’t discussed it with other NCMs that had served here, I saw it as a training/education establishment not unlike any other school in the CF and I could not fully appreciate the congratulations bestowed upon me. Based on this, I had expectations that were no different than I had for any other of my assigned tasks and I therefore expected to contribute in the following manner:
1. I expected that I would have a significant responsibility in assuring that all RMCC staff, faculty, and students worked in a safe and respectful work place.
2. I expected that I would have a responsibility to ensure that upon completion of their education and training at the College, Cadets would leave with a comprehensive understanding of the capabilities and perspective of the CF NCM corps.
3. I expected that I would have a responsibility to the Cadet Wing for ensuring that the training and education they receive is of the highest standard and is relevant and comparable worldwide as RMCC is considered a centre of excellence for creating officers, well-educated.
4. I expected that my role as RMCC CWO was to ensure that the Commander’s intent was realized to the furthest extent possible while at the same time ensuring that the voice of the institution was heard when Commander’s intent may exceed the organization’s ability to deliver.
5. Lastly, I expected to continue to foster and respect the relationships that exist between the College and the RMCC Club, Foundation, the Old Brigade, CFB Kingston, and the City of Kingston.
e-Veritas: How have those expectations compared with reality…?
CPO1 Keith Davidson: I was not prepared for the layers of oversight by government, ex-Cadet organizations and interested Canadian citizens that exists here at RMCC. I am reminded daily that the College is under the microscope and that all facets of life here must pass significant scrutiny which far exceeds that of any other CF unit where I have been employed.
e-Veritas: What are you looking forward to about working with the Cadets…?
CPO1 Keith Davidson: The Military, Academic and Athletic wings of the College are comprised of highly capable staff and faculty and together they produce effective officers, well educated and they require very little input from the CCWO. As such, I found it difficult to comprehend how I would directly contribute or work with Cadets, as CF operational and strategic positions normally require indirect leadership capabilities in the fulfillment of the position.
As each day passes and I continue to develop my purpose in this place I have found that above all, I look forward to working with Cadets in areas that are not necessarily related to the training, education, dress, deportment and discipline requirements associated with life at the College. I offer the following analogy to describe what it is I look forward to when working with Cadets. Despite a fathers desire to assist his young adult children in making life’s roads a little less bumpy, our tool boxes, when opened, seem sparse of the tools required to see a fathers advice through to fruition. However, I feel my tool box as the RMCC CWO is adequately supplied with the appropriate tools to help Cadets through life’s bumpy roads, simply by virtue of my position, and if I can help just one overcome life’s challenges, then this is worth looking forward to each day.
e-Veritas: What advice would you have for the Cadets…?
CPO1 Keith Davidson: Speak plainly; your allegiance as a CF member shall always be to your country. Work hard, play harder. Never accept “I can’t”. The only perfectly reasonable response to the challenges that lay before you is “I can,” “I will” or “I will try”.
e-Veritas: What is there in your background within the CF that makes you suitable for the role of College Chief Warrant Officer…?
CPO1 Keith Davidson: I have been exposed to many facets of life in the CF, and for that reason I cannot put my finger on any one particular experience that would make me more suitable. The issues at the College are so incredibly varied that I believe it is the accumulation of experiences that I have gained over my career that is most likely responsible for some level of suitability. The CF Senior appointment and Key Position succession management and selection process, although in its infancy, addresses this issue and considers many factors in a members career to determine if the candidate is suitable or not, breath of experience being one of them.
e-Veritas: How do you see yourself fitting into a leadership role when so many layers of leadership already exist within the College…? For example, do you see yourself as the eyes/ears of the Commandant…?
CPO1 Keith Davidson: I don’t share the idea that many layers of leadership already exist with in the College Military Wing. On the contrary, I believe that the College is significantly undermanned and as such its military hierarchy is thin at best with a span of control that generally far exceeds that of any other CF unit I have experienced. Not withstanding the QR&O definition of command, I see my leadership role as a shared command leadership responsibility with the Commandant and I have no problem filling that role. One of my main responsibilities is to be the eyes and ears of the Commandant and to ensure that his intent is executed as commanded. With this said, the command team is conscience at all times of the effects the decisions will have on faculty, staff and students at RMCC and this, when possible, plays a significant role in shaping our decisions.