This edition of NCO/WO Professional Military Education (PME) reviews the interview with former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A), Warrant Officer Grant McFarlane, OAM and discusses some of his tips from his time as RSM-A. The full interview can be found here.

Have a listen to the full interview and think about some of the lessons you have gained throughout your career in preparation for group discussion.

Want More?

For a further look at some of the lessons learnt from our most senior soldiers, take a look at the following articles:

Want Even More?

Here is another interview with Warrant Officer McFarlane by Army Knowledge Centre in 2021: Smart Soldier – Q&A with Regimental Sergeant Major-Army.

Discussion Questions

  1. Warrant Officer McFarlane talks about his motivations to join the Army as a young man. He speaks about mateship and adventure. Do you think that people still join for the same reasons today? Or have motivations changed throughout the years?
  2. Warrant Officer McFarlane spoke about changes to promotion and selection boards in order to make them as unbiased as possible. Do you think that Army is in a state where it’s reporting and selection systems are robust enough to select the right people for every job?
  3. Warrant Officer McFarlane talks about the high regard that the Australian soldier is held in by other nations. Do you think the current Australian soldier and officer live up to the legacy of our ancestors?
  4. Warrant Officer McFarlane speaks about ‘recruiting the family, not just the individual’ and the need to live up to our value proposition. What do you think Army needs in order to be able to achieve this?
  5. Warrant Officer McFarlane speaks about the pride he has in service. Do you think that pride in serving still plays a part in motivating people to join the Army? Does it play a part in retaining people? Has that changed over the years?
  6. Warrant Officer McFarlane states that he doesn’t think he would have stayed in the Army for as long as he did without having a good mentor. How much of a role do you think mentorship plays in keeping people in Army? Do you have a mentor or mentors? Is there someone you consider yourself to be a mentoring someone?
  7. Warrant Officer McFarlane talks about investing in people and the investment that was made in him. Do you think we invest enough in our people?
  8. What do you think the role of RSM-A is? What do you think they should focus on? How does this compare to a unit RSM?

Other Activities

Want more material? For JNCOs to conduct with their soldiers, here is a link to our Quick Military Education resources. For Junior Officers here is a link to our Junior Officer PME sessions.

Concluding Comments

If you have suggestions for improvements – additional readings or reference material, alternative discussion points, new delivery methods – or just wish to provide feedback, please contact The Cove Team via

Here are the Facilitator Notes for this PME.