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.


Anonymous said...

The risk here is that the Chief's mess becomes a self-licking ice cream cone. More concerned with perpetuating is own self interest than with leading the work centers and providing valuable input and mentorship to the wardroom. I have watched the Chief's mess become increasingly irrelevant as the Chiefs spend more and more time away from their work centers doing "Chief stuff". The vacuum is filled by junior officers, for better or worse.
Further: The reduction in admin personnel has resulted in Chiefs becoming the "Admin guy", since the reduction in admin personnel was not accompanied by a concommitent reduction in admin requirements. That focus on admin comes at the expense of mission.
The MCPON would be more useful if got the Chiefs mess back on the mission of the various commands, rather than creating a separate mission of promoting the Chief's mess....

CWO4 Brian Ashpole, USN-Retired said...

I have a hard time with the CPO 365 program. Particularly because it only focuses on the PO1. The time to start preparing a young Sailor for the duties and responsibilities of a CPO is at the PO2 level.

Time is not on the Sailor's side here. If you take a hard look, a Sailor's first look for CPO will most likely include two to three evaluations from time as a PO2.

How are they progressing? Are they early or late bloomers? Are they really in-rate qualified and are they pursuing additional professional / technical qualifications? These all take time to mature. If you start at the PO1 level, you are too late.

Mike Lambert said...

Great points Brian!! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I forget which admiral said it but it was along the lines of "we don't need another program." Can't supervisors and CPOs just do their jobs. I thought it was everyones responsibility to prepare their subordinates for additional responsibility, authority, and if warranted - a promotion.

Let's go back to that program. We call it "doing your freaking job" at my command. It seems to work here.

James Hammersla said...

CWO4 Ashpole,
I totally concur. When I first transferred from the Marines to the Navy, it really bothered me that PO3's and PO2's seemed to be really minimalized. My logic was “A 3rd class is an NCO … just like a Corporal”, which is true but just not supported by the lack of responsibility, ownership or leadership we (as an institution) afford to these Sailors.

Navy Grade 36 Bureaucrat said...

Warrant Ashpole, I concur with you. My Second Class EVALs this year were sent to me with no thoughts placed on the CPO board precepts. It seems we expect Second Classes to simply develop themselves, when we need to focus on building them as a Second Class so that when they make first, they have a good base to work off of.

Anonymous said...

Warrant et al,
The deck plates are the CPOs' domain. Got a problem with that? Talk to the Chief.

CWO4 Brian Ashpole, USN-Retired said...

Anon @ 1932.
You should add value to the conversation. Not sure of your status, but I find your comments to be a bit on the immature side.

Last time I checked, it was Commissioned Officers who sign evals and fitness reports, therefore, it is also their domain. Plus, it is a Commissioned Officer who presides over CPO selection boards.

As someone who spent six years in the CPO mess and 18 years enlisted service prior to commissioning, I have plenty to say.

One of the failures of younger leaders is not heeding the advice of those who have been there.

Mike Lambert said...

@ CWO Ashpole

Hear, hear !

Anonymous said...

Let's shift the conversation just a bit, and consider this situation from a different perspective.

I spent 8 years as an ET, then cross-rated into the CTI community. As an ET2 I had EP evals, 90+ percentile on the test, max award points, and had already been an LPO at sea, but that didn't matter because I was still missing advancement by 12-15 points. after five and a half years as an ET2, I cross rated (should've waited, I made 1st on the next cycle). I went to DLI as a PO1, and now, three years after graduation, I have CTI1's that weren't even in the Navy when I put on 1st. To make a short story really long, many of these young 1st classes NEED CPO 365 just to get them up to speed because they haven't been in the Navy long enough to develop the knowledge base and experience requisite of a leader at their pay-grade.
Is a program a substitute for experience? Hell no! This problem is systemic.

ATCS Ret said...

CPO 365 makes me want to puke. I have watched several of these CMDCM initiatives unfold (POP, BOB, etc) and they smack of someone wanting to leave some sort of twisted legacy. We are not making CPO's, we are making self serving yes men with this nonsense. Will they file a grievance the first time their Skipper says "darn" in front of them? These tired old traditions (that gets bandied about quite a bit) that are now the bane of professionalism, are hallmarks of successful Chiefs. I have watched each MCPON from Terry Scott to now (with the exception of Joe Campa) dismantle the very fabric of what makes Chiefs Chiefs. All I can say is I'm exceedingly glad I retired.