Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Henry Miller on Writing


Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become the path himself.

Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 Multiplier of the Year


Please vote for Captain Sean Heritage as 2016 military multiplier of the year.  You can vote HERE.

The Five Disciplines of the Multiplier
1. The Talent Magnet: Attracts and deploys talent at its highest point of contribution.
2. The Liberator: Creates a climate of safety and ambition that both invites and demands people’s best thinking.
3. The Challenger: Define an opportunity that causes people to stretch.
4. The Debate Maker: Drives sound decisions through rigorous debate.
5. The Investor: Delivers extraordinary results again and again without direct management.




Monday, January 2, 2017

Not everyone can be a Sailor


A man or woman can be false, fleeting, a liar or a coward - in every way corrupt and still be an outstanding engineer, doctor, a great artist, cryptologist or a computer wizard.  But there's one thing they can't be and that is a Sailor or a Naval officer.

Friday, December 30, 2016

"The Chief" has slipped the surly bonds of earth


Joseph Charles Anthony Lambert, 84, retired USAF Chief Master Sergeant, slipped the surly bonds of earth eternally on 26 December 2016. The son of the late Myrtle and Camille Lambert, he was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on 25 June 1932.  At 19, he joined the USAF and enjoyed a 29-year career as a Communications Systems Maintenance Engineer, Manager, and Superintendent.  His career took him from Louisiana to Texas, to Germany (several times) France, South Carolina, Oklahoma (several times), Illinois, Missouri, Turkey, Newfoundland and many other locations.  He served over 16 years in foreign countries and earned numerous awards – most notably the Meritorious Service Medal and AF Commendation Medal. During his time overseas, he played tenor saxophone and was a vocalist in an AF jazz band.  He was also a great basketball player on several AF base basketball teams.  His most memorable tour was at Laon Air Base, France where he served as Chief of Maintenance for the base commander’s squadron and two radio-relay stations, providing all communications between the Laon Air Base and the rest of the world.  He ended his AF service the same place it started at Tinker Air Force Base where he served as Maintenance Superintendent for the 3rd Combat Communications Group.  Following his lengthy active duty Air Force career, he served as a technical writer, a USAF civil service employee, and as Crest Food Stores greeter.  Joe was an avid reader all of his life.  The family would like to thank all of Joe’s great neighbors and friends in the Stone Meadows neighborhood who looked out for Joe in his later years – always providing refuge from the storm.

His wife Irmgard Anne Lambert, his daughter Patricia Lee Lambert of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and his older sister Lois Karamozous of New York, New York preceded him in death.  His younger sister, Dianne Auzenne, resides in Baton Rouge, not far from their childhood home.


Joe and his wife Anne raised five children – Annette R. Pate (George Wayne – USAF), Leane L. DeFrancis (Anthony – US Army), Joseph R. Lambert (US Army), Reiner “Mike” W. Lambert  - USN (Lynn M. - USAF), and Patricia L. Lambert.  They have three grandchildren – Trisha R. Pate, Michael G-J. Lambert, and Bond L. Cavazos (Aaron Joseph).  Anne and Joe have one great-granddaughter Colette Marie Cavazos.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Initiative and responsibility


Initiative and responsibility. They are yours for the taking.  No limits.  You are free to take as much of either or both of these as you like.  Go ahead.  Try it.  Some of you will really like it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas


I am very happy to be blessed with a wonderful family.
Life does not get much better than this.
Here's wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Inordinately fortunate

I was inordinately fortunate during my early professional career.  I worked for some truly awful leaders. And some remarkable ones also.

Thus during the subsequent free time that life sometimes provides, I always had a full wagonload of professional grist waiting to grind.  The important questions were always the same.  Why had my bosses acted without apparent thought?  Why didn't my supervisors understand the effects their actions had on people?

Why had our team always done everything the hard way? For the answers to these and other penetrating leadership questions, read Rear Admiral Dave Oliver, Jr.'s book, LEAD ON! A Practical Approach to Leadership  

You can get a preview HERE.

My signed copy is available for loan.  Shoot me an e-mail.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Admiral Ernest J. King advocated for more communication and sound leadership

When Sailors are aware and understand where their command is going, and WHY; when they understand their role, and WHY (he got there long before Simon Sinek in understanding the WHY) their contribution is vitally important; when they have the assets, resources, training and direction they need; when they are truly empowered, then they will do the right things for the right reasons at the right times. And, you can follow your people to achieve your vision.

The challenge for leadership is to see where the command needs to go, and WHY. Leadership needs to communicate that vision to the Sailors with sound and rational reasoning, and communicate it so that the Sailors will ardently want to move the command, transform it if need be, from where it is today to what it needs to be to serve the Navy and the Nation best. Then, we won’t need to tell Sailors what to do. They’ll know. They’ll believe it. And, they’ll do it without being pushed because they believe and know it’s the right thing to do.

Can you do that much for our Sailors?  If not, step aside Shipmate.  Other leaders are ready to fulfill that responsibility with gusto.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

unWritten Rule 14 - Strive for brevity and clarity

It takes longer to write cleanly and crisply.  It shows respect for the time of others when you do (write cleanly).


As you grow in position and assume roles of increasing responsibility and complexity, you truly appreciate those who communicate with brevity and clarity.  Their e-mails, notes and reports will get read!  Conversely, and sadly, good ideas in hard-to-open packages wrapped with complicated bows may be overlooked.

William H. Swanson

Thursday, December 8, 2016

18th Anniversary of my failure to screen for command - while in command!

As a Lieutenant Commander, I assumed command of Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan (a Commander command) in January 1997 from LCDR Eric Newhouse (the interim CO). The CO previous to Eric had been relieved 6 months earlier, after failing two successive Inspector General inspections - leaving behind demoralized Sailors and a fractured command.

The "Failure to Screen for Command" letter arrived after I had been in command for 23 months and a few days before I put on Commander. Twelve years later, it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth - as you can tell.

I was not completely surprised by the letter because a Lieutenant from BUPERS had called two weeks earlier to inform me that I had "FAILED TO SCREEN FOR COMMAND". What did surprise me was the fact that I had failed to screen for command - a job that I had held for two years, already.

Thankfully, I didn't lose my day job. I post this letter for those who have had to deal with the pain of "Failure of Selection" - whether it be for promotion, command or some other program you desperately want. It's a very painful and emotional thing. One which we try very hard to comprehend. No one ever explained how I failed to screen for a job I already had and was ranked #1 at. A year later, I "successfully screened" for the assignment that I had been doing for 35 months. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Advice from Steve Jobs





Today, I salute all of my Shipmates who work tirelessly every day to make a difference in the lives of their Sailors. Maybe we can't change everything but can't we change just one thing?  That one thing may lead to another and then another.  So, perhaps we can change everything.  Keep working on your 'dent' in the universe - even if that universe is just your division at your command.

More fun stuff from Hugh MacLeod HERE.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

10 Reasons I've Enjoyed Posting To This Blog Over The Past Many Years

In no particular order.


1.  It allowed me to engage with a wonderful author and to write the Chapter 1 opening vignette for a Wall Street Journal/Amazon best-selling business book.  Dr. Stephen Covey and Bono 'open' for me.  Multipliers by Liz Wiseman is available HERE.
2.  It gave me the opportunity to help a Pulitzer prize winning author with research for his story on The SeaWitch in TIME magazine with a link HERE.
3.  It has allowed me to remain connected to the Navy's cryptologic community, which I love. The community dissolved and was reconstituted.
4.  It earned me an invite to speak at a Women In Defense forum and to contribute ideas to numerous professional publications.
5.  It has allowed others to freely express their frustrations on a variety of topics important to them. 
6.  It allowed me to expand the network of Sailors of all paygrades that I mentor and with whom I share lessons learned.
7.  It allowed me to collaborate with the former CNO on avenues to gain recognition of the Navy as a TOP 50 Employer in the United States.
8.  It allowed me to keep alive the memory of some stellar Sailors.
9.  It has allowed me to write everyday, which I love.
10.  It has connected me to some great Navy veterans and many others who proudly serve today.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Importance Of Letter Writing - Captain Laurance Safford: Father of Naval Cryptology



A number of his personal letters provide insight into events surrounding the congressional investigation into the attack on Pearl Harbor. One letter refers specifically to the “Winds Message” reportedly intercepted by the U.S. days before the 7 December surprise attack. This infamous message reportedly gave clear indications of the planned Japanese surprise attack.
Unfortunately the actual intercept mysteriously disappeared shortly after the surprise attack and the "Winds Message's" very existence is only supported by the testimony of Safford and perhaps one or two others who reportedly also were aware of the intercept.

His personal papers also included a four page letter to Vice Admiral C.E. Rosendahl responding to two pages of questions from Rosendahl about the number, distribution, disposition and construction of PURPLE machines prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Other documents included a petition to the Congress and supporting testimony to award Capt. Safford remuneration for his many secret cryptologic inventions, some of which were cited as among the most important and secure communication systems used by the U.S. during WW II. 

As Admiral Stavridis is so fond of saying: "Think, read, write and publish." If you don't tell your story - who will know it?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Conduct as officers

"Unless and until officers conduct themselves at all times as officers, it is useless to demand and hopeless to expect any improvement in the enlisted ranks.
Matters of correct attitude, personal conduct, and awareness of moral obligations do not lend themselves to control by a set of rules or to scientific analysis...Many methods of instruction and different approaches to teaching them will present themselves. Each naval officer must consider himself an instructor in these matters and the future tone of the naval service will depend on the sincerity which he brings to this task."
Admiral T. C. Kinkaid
United States Navy
1947