Message from CPCC Leadership Team: Defence Team consultation wrap-up
March 18, 2022 - Defence Stories
Last month, we completed the Defence Team Conduct and Culture Consultation. Thank you for your participation: military members, including Reservists and Veterans, and public servants. Your engagement and honesty have been invaluable in helping us define the problem space, recognize gaps, and identify opportunities for improvement. We listened and learned from the depth and wisdom of your comments, and will act on them as we move forward.
Since October 2021, we have held 279 sessions comprised of town halls, listening sessions, leadership consultations, culture dialogues, and targeted interviews, totalling over 435 hours of consultation and attracting nearly 9,000 participants. We heard you: your lived experiences, your insights, your comments regarding what is working and what is not, your suggestions for change.
The majority of comments fit into four cultural themes: service to mission, warrior identity, effective leadership, and teamwork. While many of your observations and comments indicated that these themes are regarded as historical DND/CAF strengths, you also told us that they have allowed certain limiting or harmful mindsets to take hold.
As we shape our culture change efforts, we must address the dual nature of these cultural themes, redefining them in order to retain, and even enrich, their strengths while diminishing their weaknesses. Below are comments that we heard which illustrate opposing points of view, as well as our vision for closing this divide.
Service to mission
- Strength. Many participants spoke of the importance of contributing, being part of hard-working and motivated teams, and finding meaning in their roles as CAF members.
- Weakness. Survivors struggled with the connection between their service and what had happened to them – continuing to serve in an organization where they felt fearful or different.
- Vision. Evolve from ‘all service requires self-sacrifice’ to ‘the best service requires the best self.’
- Strength. The CAF military profession, and the readiness to enter conflict and take kinetic action to defend our nation, is closely associated with identity, strength, and resilience.
- Weakness. The work that the CAF may be asked to do has entrenched a hyper-masculine mindset that rejects anyone who does not meet the narrow standard of what defines a ‘good soldier’ and contributes to harming others.
- Vision: Recognize that ‘warriors should be both physically fit and emotionally adaptable.’
- Strength. Effective leadership within the chain of command fosters cohesion, unity of purpose, and camaraderie. Leaders are there for their people.
- Weakness. Lack of action to create an inclusive team atmosphere and address misconduct erodes confidence and cohesion.
- Vision: Great leaders must combine decisiveness and emotional intelligence.
- Strength. An effective military is rooted in a sense of camaraderie, belonging, and family. The unity of purpose that is created when training, deploying, and living together fosters resiliency and strong teams.
- Weakness. Survivors spoke of feeling excluded and targeted for being different. ‘Loyalty’ to the team cannot overtake the need for safety of all team members.
- Vision: High-performing teams can be built through ‘trust and authenticity to self’ rather than ‘conformity and loyalty.’
We are currently analyzing the consultation findings so that we can best turn them into action. We will communicate more details about our findings – including a detailed analysis and recommendations – in the near future.
Once again, a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Defence Team Conduct and Culture Consultation. Please remember that, although we are winding up this initiative, our team is always open to input and feedback. You can reach out to us at any time using the CPCC email address.
Lieutenant-General M.A.J. Carignan, CMM, MSM, CD
Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture
Chief Warrant Officer Bob McCann, MMM, MSM, CD
Command Chief Warrant Officer,
Professional Conduct and Culture
Associate Assistant Deputy Minister,
Professional Conduct and Culture
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