Friday, June 17, 2016

One of the most popular posts of all time on my blog - From "Navigating a New Course To Command Excellence"

The Significant Role of the Navy Chief Petty Officer (CPO) In Superior Commands 

"The backbone of the Navy" is how one old adage sums up the importance of the chiefs quarters. Superior commands are especially quick to acknowledge the chief petty officer's special role and contribution. The uniqueness of that role is a function both of the position the chief occupies in the organizational structure and of the job qualifications that must be satisfied before the position is attained. Chiefs have considerable managerial and technical expertise and are the linchpin between officers and enlisted.

For there to be a strong chiefs quarters, the chiefs must feel that they are valued and that they have the authority and responsibility to do the job the way they think it ought to be done. In superior commands, the chiefs feel that their special leadership role is sanctioned and appreciated by the rest of the command, especially the CO. In these commands, the chiefs are included in all major activities, particularly planning. Their input is sought and readily given. If they believe that something won't work or that there is a better way to do it, they speak up.

Chiefs in superior commands lead by taking responsibility for their division. They motivate their subordinates, counsel them, defend them when unjustly criticized, monitor and enforce standards, give positive and negative feedback, communicate essential information, solicit input, monitor morale, and take initiative to propose new solutions and to do things before being told. The chiefs play a key role in the enforcement of standards. Because they are out and about, they see for themselves whether job performance and military bearing meet the Navy's and the command's requirements.

When work is done well, they offer recognition and rewards; when it is done poorly, they act to correct it. They also know the importance of modeling the kind of behavior they expect their people to display. If they expect their personnel to work long hours to get something done, they work the same hours right along with them. Their concerns extend beyond their immediate areas, however.

Chiefs in superior commands act for command-wide effectiveness, promoting the success of the unit as a whole. Although they have a strong sense of ownership and take responsibility for their division's activities, they are able to look beyond the job at hand: when other departments or divisions need assistance, chiefs in superior commands are willing to help.

The superior chiefs quarters usually has a strong leader who plays the role of standard-bearer for the command, creates enthusiasm, offers encouragement, and drives others to excel. It is usually someone whom the other chiefs perceive as fair, who stands up for their interests and those of the crew, who listens with an open mind, and who has demonstrated a high degree of technical proficiency.

In superior commands, the chiefs quarters functions as a tight-knit team. The chiefs coordinate well, seek inputs from each other, help with personal problems, identify with the command's philosophy and goals, and treat each other with professional respect.

Finally, this ability to perceive larger goals and to work toward them as a team extends to their relationships with division officers. Chiefs in superior commands are sensitive to the difficulties that arise for division officers, who lack experience and technical know-how but must nevertheless take their place as leaders within the chain of command. A superior chiefs quarters supports and advises these new officers fully and tactfully.

Want to have a superior command?  It's ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to get there without a superior CPO mess.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rochefort versus Nave

You have to read - A Man of Intelligence, written by the brilliant RAN Captain Ian Pfennigwerth. The Australians had their own Joe Rochefort.

The only American naval code-breaker in the Pacific war of comparable brilliance to Nave was Joseph Rochefort. He joined the US Navy at the same time Nave joined the RAN and also learnt Japanese in the 1920s in Japan. Although recommended for the prestigious Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) by the great Admiral Nimitz himself, it was opposed by the same malign influences that made Nave’s work unnecessarily difficult. Rochefort died in 1976, aged 76, but was awarded the DSM posthumously in 1985 and a year later the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It would be a wonderful thing if Eric Nave could receive comparable posthumous recognition.

From The Spectator

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cognitive Diversity - the diversity we have been looking for

thinkinG diFFerently:
the imPortAnce oF diversity

Some of the most compelling research in recent years has looked at the importance of cognitive diversity—bringing together people who think differently than each other. Professor Scott E. Page of the University of Michigan has identified four “frameworks” for cognitive diversity:

Diverse perspectives – ways of representing the world
Diverse interpretations – ways of creating categories
Diverse heuristics – techniques and tools for making improvements
Diverse predictive models – inferences about correlation and cause and effect 

Through a rigorous logic exercise, Page demonstrates that diverse groups get better outcomes than homogeneous ones.  The implications for complex project teams are clear—in a world where knowledge is the only competitive advantage, cognitive diversity is critical for bringing the best ideas to the table. This insight suggests that the trend toward employing global, distributed teams to tackle complex projects—as we’ve seen with the International Space Station, the Large Hadron Collider, and the ITER nuclear fusion reactor, among others—will only increase in the years to come. We don’t collaborate solely in the interest of sharing financial burdens; we also work together because there is strength in the diversity of talent. 

From: NASA's Journey to Project Management Excellence

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Peyton Manning - Write it down

At a Director's Speakers series on 6 May 2016, former Broncos/Colts quarterback Payton Peyton Manning said,

"You have to write it down or it's a waste of time.  It's the only way to really learn."

He also said,

"Leading by example is not a way of leading; it is the only way to lead."

Friday, June 3, 2016

One last note to close out the week

“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” –Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Another letter of note

From one of many great former First Class Petty Officers on our crew at U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan 1997-2000.  That crew was amazing - 1997 & 1998 CNSG Maintenance Award; 1998, 1999 & 2000 Captain's Cup; 1999 Silver Anchor; 2000 GOLD Anchor, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation 1997 - 2000.  What a crew !!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A note ... of note - as the years go by

The "art of the letter" is not completely lost.  I see glimmers of hope every day in my mailbox.