Monday, August 12, 2013
CPO 365. How did you do?
16 September 2013 marks the culmination of 364 days of preparing First Class Petty Officers for Chief Petty Officer since the last pinning ceremony. It will be a proud day for some of our best Sailors and their families. But what does it mean for those not selected for promotion? For some PO1s, we'll see them dig in and study more. Some will chase additional collateral duties. Others will pursue additional warfare qualifications. Some will terminate shore duty to pursue more challenging assignments at sea. Still others will just quit in frustration.
Where does the CPO Mess fit in all this? Just like other Navy instructions, policies, manuals and record messages on any number of topics, the MCPON's Guidance for CPO 365 will be ignored by Chiefs who know "a better way." How do we measure the true effectiveness of the mess? Who holds them accountable for CPO365? What can we say about the mess, which after 365 days of training can't produce a single new CPO at a command? Preparing PO1s for Chief Petty Officer is no easy task. It requires the active engagement of every CPO in the mess. The leader of the mess (not always the CMC) has to demand participation in every phase of CPO365 by every CPO in the mess. Every PO1 in the command has to be engaged by the mess. There has to be a plan. The MCPON has provided the framework. Each command's CPO mess has to provide the particulars. If it's not on your mess calendar, it's not likely to happen. Don't have a mess calendar? Start one.
Go back and take a hard look at your CPO selection rate for 2013. How many test takers? How many board eligible? How many selected? Satisfied? MCPON's "Zeroing in on Excellence" can help you do better. The mess has to concentrate their attention on his three fundamental focus areas: (1) Developing leaders; (2) Good order and discipline and (3) Controlling what we own.
As the MCPON says, "Making the Navy run is a job for professionals only - we simply do not have room for amateurs. Professionals know what the priorities are and where to apply energy - they are not easily distracted by the white noise beyond their control."
Didn't do so well this year? Recommit yourself to fulfilling the promise of sound leadership found in the MCPON's CPO365 Guidance. Need more help? Ask for it. Make a better plan for 2014. Remember the adage - FAIL TO PLAN; PLAN TO FAIL. Prepare your PO1s for the challenges ahead as CPOs. Mentor them, teach them, challenge them, quiz them, demand more of them and watch them get promoted. There are few days in a Sailor's career that match the pride of being pinned a Chief Petty Officer in September. This is NOT an event where you want to be standing on the sidelines.