Saturday, November 8, 2008

Command Excellence - The Executive Officer

CO's right hand
Superior commands view the XO as the CO's right hand. It is the XO who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the command. XOs traditionally have responsibility for administration and personnel. And in superior units, XOs drive the administrative system. They emphasize efficiency, knowing that if paperwork is not done properly and on time, performance and morale will suffer. They develop routines and systems to make sure this does not happen. But these are not "paperwork" XOs.

Out and about
Like the COs of superior commands, they frequently walk about. Describing his daily routine, one XO explains: "I try to get out every day and look at what is going on in the control room. I might check and see what the missile program watch is for today, stop and look at a set of logs, or watch a guy do his hourly cleaning. I find it very useful. It lets the crew know that the command is interested. They like to know that we are not just growing mushrooms on them."

Active in planning
These XOs are especially active in planning. They meet frequently to plan; they delegate people to gather information; they find out what's coming down the road; and they hold people accountable for implementing plans.

Unit manning
XOs in superior commands are active in all aspects of unit staffing, including performance appraisal, manpower utilization, and retention. They encourage and participate in recruiting the best people. For example, one XO was able to work a deal with another squadron to get them to release an outstanding maintenance chief early. The chief would then be available when the XO's command needed him. In another case, an XO swapped one of his chiefs for one in another squadron that his command wanted.

Enforce Standards
Because they oversee the daily operations of the command, these XOs are instrumental in monitoring and enforcing standards. They often have regular and exacting inspections, and if they find that something is not shipshape, they take corrective action immediately.

Charting the Course to Command Excellence

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