Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lean out of the boat

I am an unabashed fan of the Information Dominance Corps leadership and here's why.

Much of the Navy's time is spent on Risk Management of all types (i.e., Liberty Risk, Operational Risk Management, Health Risk, Safety Risk, and the list goes on nearly without end.)

As Seth Godin has stated: "The purpose of the modern organization is to make it easy and natural and expected for people to take risks. To lean out of the boat. To be human."

In many Navy commands, the opposite is happening.  Risk is avoided at all costs.  Much time is spent avoiding that "one mistake" that takes you out of the promotion cycle.  Godin calls this "institutionalized cowardice"  Too many Sailors have the opportunity to say "that’s not my job.”  Don't be one of them.

What we are seeing more and more of in the IDC is that senior leadership is providing a platform for bravery instead. It's been awhile since the messenger has been shot.  Even VADM Card has taken the message to the CNO personally for the community.  The IDC is embracing new ideas every day and the best chance you have of getting your idea adopted is to share it.  Put it down on paper and send it up the chain - VFR direct, if you have that much courage.  I check with N2N6 and FCC/C10F staff officers regularly and I can tell you - the messengers are all ALIVE and WELL and so are the thinkers and doers. 

Go ahead, your leadership has made it natural and easy - BE BRAVE - share those ideas.  Lean out of the boat.


Anonymous said...

The flip side of this coin is the tendency to chase the bright and shiney object.
Remember 10 years ago: It was all about IO: PSYOPS, MILDEC, Strategic Communications, the 5 pillars....and other colateral duties that snake oil salesmen tried to turn into "Warfare" areas, to the discredit of the community. Now it is all cyber all the time. How about some discretion and some reality. Some deliberate thought.

Anonymous said...

deliberate thought +1

Jim Murphy said...

I think risk avoidance is far too common throughout the Navy, including the IW community. There are a few leaders willing to "lean out of the boat," but not enough, and they don't demand it from their subordinates. More often we see 'leaders' unwillingly to do anything new or different - and in many cases, unwilling to DO anything or make any decision - because they are so adamantly risk-averse. Along with the increasing focus on hot topics that have zero to do with the mission - DRBs for every misstep, SAPR training, etc - leaders' focus is not on making tough decisions on new ideas, but instead on micro-managing every facet of their command, department, or division. I think this is a combination of having the wrong focus, accepting zero risk, and feeling like they are leading simply because they are doing something. Perhaps the worst result is, it's driving out those who are focused on the mission and truly taking care of Sailors, leaving behind only the misaligned sycophants. It will only get worse before it gets better because of it.

Unleash Enthusiasm Here! said...

I don't want to live in a world in which at least a few are encourage to "chase the shiney object."

The men and women of NCWDG are doing just that. Come forward with your ideas, come forward and be prepared to defend your notion, your thought, your hair-brained idea. Do your analysis of the pros and cons, weigh the COAs, and give your leadership what it desparately needs - solutions to today's problems.

Don't, I repeat, Don't simply show up and throw a bunch of problems on the table, unless you are prepared to find a solution and help develop a plan to solve them. That's no more useful than throwing a bunch of shiney objects on the table, and saying "Pick one!" believing that anything new will solve the problem.