Friday, February 21, 2014

Command Culture

"Ask yourself, "What do I like best about my Navy?" Then, "What would it look like if it were perfect; ideal in every way?" If you are honest with yourself, you will begin to see possibilities you haven't seen before. Carry this into your department, division, or command practices. Appreciate what is there, and then aggressively dream as you inquire (with your people) about what would make it even better. Talk about it, design it, and make it so. It really is that simple."

MMCS(SS) Brad Green - From his excellent article in PROCEEDINGS Magazine.  Available HERE

Some people just have absolutely ZERO interest in improving in any way.  Hard to believe, but it is true. In many cases, commands go into decline from benign neglect. Small things are overlooked because they are small. A command's sense of purpose/mission may get lost in the day to day business of fighting fires. One or two small things neglected becomes 5 or 10 things, then 10 or 20.  People show up late for meetings, late for work, submit late awards, late FITREPS/Evals, and so forth.  All hands calls are delayed for days or put off until next month.  Personnel inspections never happen.  Zone inspections are non-existent.  The list goes on.  Finally the command hits rock bottom and we think it can't get worse. And then, people start digging the hole deeper. Stop digging!

1 comment:

HMS Defiant said...

I congratulate Senior Chief Green on a fine article. I think he hit many of the points that make for a good command. It's an interesting factoid that today we take our examples of leadership from people who have been provided with the very best. When I was still in we took our examples from those who were the very worst. It's no more than another way of trying to reach the same goal but it was filled with negatives; don't be like this! Don't do this! I think the process got hammered for awhile when we mistranslated management as leadership and got caught sideways in the jaws of the Deming and process improvement. My view only perhaps.

Where the small things our host mentions led to a cascade of bad fail is where you address some of the characteristics of a bad command climate and I have to say most all of those are simply the result of piss poor leadership at the XO and CO level and nothing else.

When the man who calls the meeting religiously shows up 20 to 30 minutes late, so does everybody else. When a meeting lasts more than 30 minutes, it lasted about 15 minutes too long. How can paperwork be submitted late with an XO keeping an eye on deadlines and simply telling those guilty that quitting time starts no earlier than when that paperwork is actually on his desk?
I remember being questioned by a fellow CO about the fact that we held CO call twice a month and at least one awards ceremony per month at all hands events. He told me that he'd had his Command Master Chief look it up and his command had not held a single awards ceremony in over 2 years.

I believe that everything you mention is no more and no less than the failure of the 2 guys at the top.

For Senior Chief Green, I realize it is way too late but I'd change the word "talk" to "live" our core values. Leadership by example is always the best example.