Thursday, April 25, 2013

XO Blast - Answer your mail !!

I've been a strong advocate for the Command Excellence program for quite some time.  I've sent out several thousands of dollars worth of printed and bound materials to our community's Commanding Officers/Executive Officers and Officers in Charge over the past decade.  It's money well spent.  I attended the first Command Excellence Seminar in the mid-1980s.  It made quite an impression!

The principles are timeless and well-founded.  The materials the Navy used back in the mid-1980s were poorly prepared and xeroxed.  My XO (LT Bob Duncan) and I recreated & updated the materials in their entirety and provided them to the Command Leadership Course in Rhode Island in 1997. These materials are still in use there today. These materials are part of the student desk loads for all Perspective Commanding Officers and Executive Officers.  Even the MCPON has adopted the principles in his ZEROING IN ON EXCELLENCE program.  There is lots of value in this.

My note above is an expression of frustration with one of our Navy Information Operations Command Executive Officers who has not learned how to "answer the mail".  My own U.S. NSGA Misawa Executive Officer in days past (some may remember "MAD DOG MURPHY" who redefined what being an XO was all about) taught me that "If a Naval officer can't be bothered to answer the mail, you have to wonder what he can be bothered 'to do'.  Probably, not too much.

My plea - "Answer your mail".


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually - I think he/she did answer you. Several times actually. Sometimes you have to be receptive to the non-verbal or written forms as communications as well. It might not be what you like but never-the-less it can also be effective as well if you are truly 'open' and 'listening'.

Anonymous said...

And when did military etiquette and tact become so uncommon?

Anonymous said...

Concur with Anon @ 7:10

Anonymous said...

Re the 4/25 post: see your 4/23 post. Perhaps to a currentg XO, your blast might reasonably considered Not urgentg and Not important.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Sorry for the late reply...Even with the sequester, we are not out of toilet paper. But thanks for the paper you sent; we will surely use them once our stocks have been depleted.

V/r,

XO

Anonymous said...

XO @ 10:02 AM

I think you speak for many of us.

MCPO A. Lena said...

Captain,

In a Navy where most officers don't value Sailors, it is easy to see where an inexperienced XO won't see the error in not responding to a retired Captain - there is no value in it for the XO. You can't influence his/her assignment/FITREP. They can offer their snide comments behind anonymous posts.

They don't respect you and probably lack any self-respect as well. As the same time, these are the same officers who belittle their Sailors while hiding behind the gold or silver devices on their collar devices. Yet, at the same time, they won't tolerate any perceived disrespect towards them and crucify and demoralize their own Sailors.

If you did provide toilet paper as suggested by one of these "anonymous XOs", I don't think they would know how to wipe their own ass.

Anonymous said...

Military courtesy is long lost in today's Navy.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I've enjoyed your blog for a couple years now, and this post surprised me. I can understand your position, but posting your letter for all to read, in my opinion, wasn't a good idea. No doubt you are frustrated, but I doubt you would recommend this tactic to someone else in a similar situation. The other posts are spot on. This could be like those address labels we get in the mail from some organization who wants you to donate money; the labels are great and may very well be useful. However, I didn't ask for them, and I don't plan to send a donation. Looking forward to your next post regarding the comments on this one. All the best!

Robert Maguire said...

To Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, I can be critical and I can be confrontational, but when I do it, it's with my name up front and center.

You probably sit at your computer and snigger about how you're annoying a lot of outstanding Sailors, but all it does is show that you're a punk and a chump.

And, if you're a CO or XO, do your command a favor and resign. I can guarantee you that your Sailors will greatly appreciate it.

Mike Lambert said...

Anon at 2:09 PM

Thanks for reading the blog for the past couple of years. I am frustrated by this individual XO. I appreciated your analogy of the address labels but this is a case of the XO telling me that he wanted the package. It wasn't sent unsolicited like a spam e-mail. While the package costs are nominal, I don't want to send them where they won't be used or appreciated.


ADM John Harvey at Fleet Forces command used the package that I sent him and we exchanged a number of letters and e-mails on the subject. He became a strong proponent of identifying the characteristics of superior Navy commands.

The Command Leadership Course and CNET use the materials and several of our IW Flags have endorsed my sending the materials to our NIOC COs/XOs and OICs. Several officers headed to NIOC commands have asked for them. I now get requests for copies from OPNAV, JCS staff officers and others headed to aviation, subsurface and surface commands. CLC instructors have asked for their personal copies.

Besides the frustration of not acknowledging the package, the XO not answering my letters became irritating which was likely his intent (which creates a frustration all its own). My sense is that the way he acts towards me is indicative of how he acts towards his Sailors. That is troublesome to me.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Give it a rest brother.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Please send me a copy. I'm happy to take whatever guidance/recommendations you have to offer. If I am ever fortunate to be in command at some point, I will be sure to seek your counsel...among other mentors of mine.

Thanks Shipmate.

VR,
Chris Weech
PS. I email you my address.

Anonymous said...

The packet to which Mike refers is extremely useful if you are willing to accept it with an open mind and take the time to read it.

Prior to my departure for XO and Legal school I recieved a package from Mike that was unsolicited. To say that I was suprised would be an understatement, but to this day I remain thankful that Mike took the time and invested himself in shaping my thoughts where many leaders on active duty had shown no interest in doing so. I certainly sought out mentorship where I thought necessary from those whose opinion I valued, but it says a lot about a person's character when they look to better those around them vice themselves. That even more than the package was the lesson I personally took from the package being delivered to my residence.

For those of you who like to espouse leadership and then anonymously post dissent and snide remarks, I wish you the best of luck but offer one very small piece of advice:

Until you open your perceptions of your surroundings and see your circumstances for what they truly are, you will not grow beyond your current self; and that is a sad state of living.

Mike, thank you for keeping us all aware, I for one, remain thankful.

V/r,
Lemuel "Seth" Lawrence
LCDR USN
Executive Officer
NIOC Pensacola

Anonymous said...

The XO has no time to answer letters. He is busy feeding the skippers fish!

Mike Lambert said...

@ LCDR Seth Lawrence

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Regardless of the reason, poor form on the XO's part. And, poor form on your part. Can we get back to work now?

Fredo C. said...

Call and chat privately, or if possible, personal visit and discussion over a cup of coffee. You may part as friends. Blog posting is airing an XO's dirty laundry and is likely to make an enemy of the XO you are trying to reach out to.

Anonymous said...

Out of idle curiosity, if people have such a hard time with the blog content, why do they read it in the first place and bother to post negative comments?

Anonymous said...

I think Seth Lawrence states it best in his comment. There's no such thing as retirement for someone like CAPT Lambert. I have never met him, but have read his website for some time. You don't have to agree with everything, and that's the point - part of being a good leader is critical thinking and making tough decisions. Part of being a Navy officer is being a gentleman. In this case, a polite but firm "thank you, but no thank you" from the XO would have demonstrated critical thinking, making a decision, and acting as a gentleman.

For Master Chief Lena,
If you truly believe that most officers in today's Navy don't value Sailors then one of us is walking around blind and doesn't know it.
I admit there are some officers who fit that description, but I say that is a small percentage. In my experience as an officer and enlisted Sailor I have found most officers - successful officers - genuinely care about the well-being of their Chiefs and white hats. I know I would not be where I am today without a string of officers who took an interest in my life.
I posit to you that a duty of a Chief Petty Officer is to train junior officers. You may not be able to completely fix the problem as you see it, but I have found the right Chief/Div-O mix equates to exceptional Sailors and stronger junior officer leaders. I really hope I am right, because if you are correct, then my Navy is in a sad state and I have been walking around with blinders on for too long.

V/r,
LT Brad Abramowitz
Officer / Advance Fleet Training DH
CID Unit Corry Station

Mike Lambert said...

LT Brad Abramowitz

Thanks very much for your comments.

Sean Heritage said...

No surprise that Seth and Brad continue to share great wisdom. It continues to be a great pleasure to lead WITH them and the others who are equally committed to our profession of leadership. I am continually disappointed with the flawed HOW used by many "leaders" as they attempt to "lead" and engage others (or not). Not that it is important, but I am almost certain I know of whom you speak and it comes as no surprise. This lack of professionalism speaks to the me-centricity that, though not prevalent, we must rid from our team. I don't understand how people with such questionable "leadership" philosophies are placed in positions that need to be reserved for real leaders. I sincerely hope that our command screen qualification board is being executed in a way that rids all command triads from such flawed "leaders". I think you just helped me to focus my next blogpost.

Navy Grade 36 Bureaucrat said...

CAPT, you can always send your packet my way...you already have my address in your email.

-NG36B

Anonymous said...

What strikes me here... this community could do without the "stuffed shirts" such as the likes of Mike L and Sean H... This blog is a constant reminder that people like this think they are wiser and smarter then everyone else, and everyone should bow in deference and gratitude to their supposed great "wisdom," which ironically take the form of trite quotes meted out from real Naval leaders or silly self-promoting proclamations from their experience sitting behind a desk. I mean, give me a break... Sean H says: "No surprise that Seth and Brad continue to share great wisdom." Who does he think he is? Moses? What utter arrogance!

Anonymous said...

oWhat strikes me here... this community could do without the "stuffed shirts" such as the likes of Mike L and Sean H... This blog is a constant reminder that people like this think they are wiser and smarter then everyone else, and everyone should bow in deference and gratitude to their supposed great "wisdom," which ironically take the form of trite quotes meted out from real Naval leaders or silly self-promoting proclamations from their experience sitting behind a desk. I mean, give me a break... Sean H says: "No surprise that Seth and Brad continue to share great wisdom." Who does he think he is? Moses? What utter arrogance!

Anonymous said...

oWhat strikes me here... this community could do without the "stuffed shirts" such as the likes of Mike L and Sean H... This blog is a constant reminder that people like this think they are wiser and smarter then everyone else, and everyone should bow in deference and gratitude to their supposed great "wisdom," which ironically take the form of trite quotes meted out from real Naval leaders or silly self-promoting proclamations from their experience sitting behind a desk. I mean, give me a break... Sean H says: "No surprise that Seth and Brad continue to share great wisdom." Who does he think he is? Moses? What utter arrogance!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:13, 9:13 and 9:14 PM

Tell them how you really feel.

Mike Lambert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Lambert said...

Anon @ APRIL 30, 2013 at 9:13 PM

First, your opinion would carry more value if you put your name behind it.

I don't think any of the people you mentioned, including me, believes he is wiser and smarter than someone else. We all have opinions and we choose to express them and own them. No requirement on your part to read or agree with them. They are only opinions. My title banner includes the disclaimer "ADVANCE WARNING - NO ORIGINAL THOUGHT!"

I'm glad you come by and read. I'm glad you have an opinion. I'll be happier when you feel comfortable enough with your opinion to "own it".

Dave Strake said...

Jack @ 09:13 PM April 30, 2013

What do you have to add to the conversation other than - your seniors are 'stuffed shirt' know it alls?

James Hammersla said...

Once transferred to the retired list Captain Lambert does get a bit of flexibility to be more openly critical than when on active duty (much like when the CNO retires he – one day she – can be more critical of policy than while wearing the uniform).

Bad form or not, it is easy to anonymously criticize him and not own your thought. Personally, I still have a lot to learn & interaction – both written and verbal with people like CAPT Lambert or CDR Heritage have done nothing but make me a better person which makes me a better officer … but I like to keep it in that order.

If these packages are available, I would reimburse the cost to get one.

Sean Heritage said...

Anon @ APRIL 30, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Arrogant? It most certainly is true that the image we transmit is not always the way we are perceived, so I most certainly accept that risk by signing my name to my thoughts. I thank you for the feedback, as arrogance is the trait I am most sensitive to because it completely undermines us as leaders. To know that some may perceive me in that way bothers me, I will do better.

Those who actually know me (I believe it is fair to say that you don't), likely understand that...

- I share because I care
- I mentor because I love
- I actively participate in the conversation because I want to be a part of what we become

Please let me know when you might like to evolve from critic to contributor. We have plenty of the former (usually they share your name) and not enough of the latter. Anxious to welome you to OUR team. We can sure use the help...

Anonymous said...

Anonymity is actually preferred. Sincerity and honesty are virtually guaranteed. Tagging a 'name' to a post causes one to question about the posters need to maintain a 'brand'.

Chris Weech said...

CAPT,

I received the package yesterday. Thank you!!! I dove right into reading last night. Very interesting concepts and great insight. I especially appreciate the way you personalized it for me. I will provide more feedback to you SEPCOR.

Thanks again!!

VR,
Chris