Recognizing leaders at the ground level

Jan Garrison

'No Small Thing' campaign


January 21, 2021

When Cole Evans ’21 (Kalamazoo, Michigan) assumed the regimental commander post from Noah Tan ’21 (Stevensville, Michigan) Wednesday morning, he emphasized that he would continue Tan’s “No Small Thing” campaign. And, with the COVID-19 pandemic heading into its 10th month, paying attention to the details at every level is important.

Tan said the “No Small Thing” campaign evolved after reading the book “Legacy (What the All Blacks Can Teach Us about the Business of Life).”

“In the book, they talk about the Hawthorne Effect,” Tan explained. While most people assume that material gain is what motivates people the most, he said, the Hawthorne Effect shows “what really motivates them is that sense they’re making an impact – that the little things they’re doing contribute to the larger picture.”

When it comes to the Corps of Cadets, Tan said, the regimental commander gets recognized because he is in front at parades and ceremonial functions; the unit commander picks up the regimental banner; and the first sergeant always marches in the back with his saber drawn.


Cole Evans (left) and Noah Tan after the Change of Command ceremony.


But the “No Small Thing” campaign focuses on the platoon and squad leaders, unit clerks, and other ground floor leaders who are responsible for others. Tan and Evans both said it is important those cadets receive their recognition because they are on the frontlines.

“The little things they’re doing to keep their unit clean and keep their people healthy help uplift the reputation of, not only their unit, but Culver Military Academy,” Tan said. “That’s who we want to be recognizing.”

“The work really begins at the bottom,” Evans added. “If it wasn’t for the squad leaders and team leaders making sure that the new kids know what they are doing or know where to go, their duties wouldn’t get done every day.”

From picking up laundry to performing unit duties to learning to march in formation, these are little details that must be passed on to each new cadet. And passing boards will be a big step in new cadets’ lives that will depend on their immediate supervisors.

“The higher leaders rely a lot on their work,” Evans said. “I feel like, sometimes, it just goes a little unrecognized. But I can tell you that their work is really appreciated.”

And, by recognizing the contributions of the first level of leadership through the “No Small Thing” campaign, Evans has witnessed “increased morale, increased motivation and purpose. It’s a great thing that I would like to continue.”

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