Cove Thoughts: A new PME podcast to get you thinkingBy Greg Colton April 7, 2020
The value of feedback
The team at The Cove love it when we get your feedback, not least when it’s on a post that we have written. Last week we published an article in which I made some suggestions for conducting PME in a time of Coronavirus. I encouraged us all to think about our profession, read widely, watch some classic films on leadership, and challenged leaders to encourage their people to write for us. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. However, in one comment on our Twitter feed, Mick Cook pointed out a glaring omission in my list of PME resources: podcasts.
He was, of course, absolutely right - I had accidently overlooked them. There are a number of really good military PME podcasts out there, many of which I have listened to in the past. I am also really enjoying the Rich Roll Podcast at the moment, a series of interviews hosted by the ultra-athlete Rich Roll which is genuinely challenging my view on the world and my place in it. So why the omission?
On reflection I think it comes down to two factors: habit and time. Regarding habits, I have always been an avid reader and I love books. Indeed, the oft-neglected basement of a second-hand bookstore is something of a nirvana to me. It’s a place where time disappears and the rest of the world retreats as I explore the true hidden treasures inside: not just the books themselves, but the words and language of previous generations as they are released from the confines in which they have locked away for so long. As a result, by habit I tend to default to the written word.
Then there’s time. I used to commute for over an hour to get into work and podcasts were an ideal way to make best use of the hour battling Sydney traffic, whether it was first thing in the morning or on the way home in the afternoon. In essence, they turned otherwise ‘dead time' into a productive learning opportunity. However, now that I only live 15 minutes from work, that time has been replaced with simply ‘being busy' - usually working remotely from home after dinner, studying or spending time with my children. Combined, both habit and time constraints have meant I have spent less time listening to podcasts for my own PME over the last year that perhaps I should have.
Cove Thoughts - a new PME micro-podcast
If these problems have impinged on my use of podcasts for PME then I am sure they do for others, of all ranks, regardless of trade or Corps.
So, we have decided to launch a new PME podcast series - Cove Thoughts – specifically aimed at junior ranks across the Army. The aim is to promote conversations across the Army on PME topics and provide a spark of inspiration which may encourage some to delve deeper into a subject that particularly interests them.
To address the issues I identified with my own use of podcasts, the format will be as follows:
Habit: Cove Thoughts will be published once a week, at the end of the week, so that they can be incorporated into unit PME programs or listened to over the weekend. This will hopefully allow you to get into the habit of listening to them once a week.
Length: Between ten to fifteen minutes in length, Cove Thoughts are designed to give enough information on a topic for soldiers to want to seek out more themselves or use it as the foundations for discussions in small groups. Hence their tag of micro-podcasts.
Topics: We want you, the soldiers of the Army, to tell us what topics you want us to cover. In effect, we are crowd sourcing the subjects and then providing you the means to expand on those topics you want to take further. Let us know what you want us to cover, either in the comments section below or on our social media sites, and we will pick the most interesting to provide a broad range of podcasts. The only caveat is that the purpose of Cove Thoughts is to enhance our understanding of the profession of arms and improve the intellectual component of fighting power: they will not cover policy issues, so please, save your questions on pay, leave or the merits of the Army Dress Manual for your immediate chain of command!
Feedback: The entire premise of The Cove is to promote a contest of ideas and we want these short podcasts to generate discussion across the Army. If you have comments or feedback, please let us know. Better still, why not use a Cove Thought theme as the basis of an article for The Cove?
The Cove Thoughts initiative seeks to provide short, thought-provoking podcasts to generate discussion across the Army that enhances the intellectual component of fighting power. The subjects of Cove Thoughts will be crowd-sourced from you, the members of the Army. We look forward to hearing from you.
There are some great podcasts already out there that you should check out. These include:
Modern War Institute - podcasts on war and Warfare from the Modern War Institute at West Point
Wavell Room - a wide range of audio materials from the UK's leading PME site.
Dead Prussian Podcast - an Australian site examining war and warfare through discussion and analysis of military theory, historical events, contemporary conflicts, and expert interviews.
War on the Rocks - some of the best US podcasts on warfare and national security issues.
War 4 Idiots - an often irreverant, always humourous, Australian look at war and warfare.
Strategy Bridge - a US podcast series on strategy, national security and strategy history.