Tuesday, July 31, 2012

From my Father's side of the military

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy says that digital technology threatens to cripple the Air Force.  "As electronic communication becomes more widely used, our face-to-face interaction skills are beginning to suffer," he says.  Leaders have learned how to text, Skype, and FaceTime, but now some of them seem reluctant to engage in a meaningful face-to-face conversation.

He urges his fellow airmen to engage more in what he calls analog leadership:
Analog leadership means temporarily putting down the iPads and Android tablets, logging out of Facebook and Twitter, and switching phones to airplane mode to stop the stream of texts coming in and out. It means shutting off the technology and talking to each other.
Face-to-face. One-on-one.
Real human interaction – yes, for some of us it may be awkward at first, but getting to know each other better is an investment that will yield incalculable returns. Stronger connections will create a foundation on which we can grow more meaningful relationships.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Character - a reflection of a man's grip upon himself

By Rear Admiral Harley Cope
July, 1951

Chapter VII: Leadership

Assuming that there are three officers each of whom respects, and is respected, by a group of men, what qualities will one possess that will inspire the men to look upon him as their leader? They will lean toward the one officer possessing the strongest character. By character is meant integrity, courage, morality, humility, and unswerving determination. Character is a spiritual force. It is a reflection of a man's grip upon himself, the degree to which he is able to dominate the baser instincts that beset us all.

Because men know that the conquest of one's own weaknesses is a far, far more difficult task than any other, they tend to believe that he who can conquer himself, can also conquer whatever problem is at hand. That is why, in civilian life, the masses look to a man of character to lead them.

Your first job, then, is to learn to know your own weaknesses and conquer them. Our fears are a key to our weakness, because we fear only the things which we feel we cannot do well. We all have fears. Force yourself to conquer and to face squarely every situation you are afraid to meet. It is not being afraid but running away that weakens character. When you have accomplished this, you will have developed character.

Character of a Naval officer

By Rear Admiral Harley Cope
July, 1951

Assuming that there are three officers each of whom respects, and is respected, by a group of men, what qualities will one possess that will inspire the men to look upon him as their leader? They will lean toward the one officer possessing the strongest character. By character is meant integrity, courage, morality, humility, and unswerving determination. Character is a spiritual force. It is a reflection of a man's grip upon himself, the degree to which he is able to dominate the baser instincts that beset us all.

Because men know that the conquest of one's own weaknesses is a far, far more difficult task than any other, they tend to believe that he who can conquer himself, can also conquer whatever problem is at hand. That is why, in civilian life, the masses look to a man of character to lead them.

Your first job, then, is to learn to know your own weaknesses and conquer them. Our fears are a key to our weakness, because we fear only the things which we feel we cannot do well. We all have fears. Force yourself to conquer and to face squarely every situation you are afraid to meet. It is not being afraid but running away that weakens character. When you have accomplished this, you will have developed character.

Not an endorsement - Heather Beaven, former CT is running for Congress

PALM COAST, FL – Heather Beaven, Navy veteran and CEO of The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates, announced her intention to run for Congress in Florida’s new 6th Congressional District. 

This is not an endorsement, but it's great to see former cryptologists continuing to serve their country.  I'd love to hear the back story on how President Clinton selected her to serve aboard USS KINKAID.  From her website:

"During her naval service, Beaven was a cryptologist who was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal and selected by President Bill Clinton to serve on the USS Kinkaid, a Spruance-class destroyer, making her one of the first 10 female Sailors to sail on a combat-ready vessel."  You can read more about her HERE

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sailors remember

It takes 15 years to gain 15 years of experience.  Despite what you might think, there are not too many short cuts and sometimes we have to go the long way.  Sailors take time to develop into solid leaders.  It's nice to follow them through the years and watch them grow.  Some of our best Second Class Petty Officers from 1997-2000 are strong Master Chiefs today.  Some others are Lieutenants.  One of our First Class Petty Officers from that time is now a Lieutenant Commander selectee - Congratulations Scott Blue.  I salute my crew from U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan.  You've done well.  You've made your Shipmates Proud.  Congratulations also to Ensign Nico Figueroa who gets promoted to LTJG on 31 July.  And special thanks to Master Chief Cedric Rawlinson who returned to Yoko as the Command Master Chief and Lieutenant Commander Andy Reeves who is the OPS officer and will fleet up to XO.  If we can get Commander Mike Elliot in there as Commanding Officer next year, we'll have come full circle.  You Sailors are truly awesome !!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Innovation for young Navy leaders

To apply the American spirit of ingenuity that is ingrained in all of us to this task, you must have a solid understanding of what innovation is and why it is essential to the Navy. It is also important that you become familiar with proven techniques that will help you to become a more innovative thinker.

This guide is intended to help innovators of all ages—especially junior leaders—to develop creative solutions and push them forward to become new warfighting capabilities. You own the future. As such, you have a professional obligation and vested personal interest in shaping the capabilities and the culture of tomorrow’s Fleet. To do this you must:
  • Think deeply
  • Question continuously
  • Debate rigorously
  • Read broadly
  • Write boldly
  • Never give up on a good idea
I ask for your full commitment in this important endeavor. We must work together to reinvigorate a spirit of creativity across the Fleet that produces advantages for future warfighters.

T. B. Kraft
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
Navy Warfare Development Command

The Innovator's Guide is HERE.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Leader versus leadership position

The single factor that distinguishes one superior command from another is the Commanding Officer

• Leaders are made
     o Must have intelligence
     o Must have energy
     o Must have character
            - A moral outlook
            - A sense of integrity

Leadership is the governing factor in the U.S. Navy promotion system.  The most impressive single factor in defining success is the ability to get things done.  The primary responsibility of a naval officer in very grade is to help move the leadership bell curve to the right, to improve leadership at every echelon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What counts in the Navy

“I believe in what counts most in the Navy – the officers and enlisted men – the man behind the gun, the man in the engine-room, the man in the conning tower, the man, whoever he is, who is doing his duty.”

President Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Walk among your Sailors

Whenever you become fed up with endless meetings, exhausting protocol and mountains of paperwork, you can refresh yourself by a simple visit with your Sailors.  By walking among them, talking with them as individuals, listening to each others' stories, you will be refreshed and reassured that these men and women are among our Nation's finest and that our Navy is indeed in good hands.

Now, grab that folder of PowerPoint briefs and get to that meeting on time so you don't violate protocol.

More from the awesome Scott Adams HERE.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two Years of "Leading Differently"

A Shipmate of mine has spent the last two years 'leading differently'.   By that,  I mean that he has spent much of his time as Commanding Officer 'flying solo', despite his persistent and absolutely unrelenting attempts to collaborate with his 'fellow' Commanding Officers and senior Navy officers.  

Fortunately, he enjoys some top cover from his senior leadership.  

Over the past two years, his disruptive thinking and acting has both perplexed and amazed his own Sailors, Chiefs, officers and civilians.  Where does a guy like this come from?  Where does he go from here?  In two years time, he's won the hearts and (more importantly) minds, as well the loyalty of some converts - lost some stalwarts and inspired some new guys. He's been fearless in sharing his thinking in every area and has confounded several of his seniors by 'holding them accountable.'  Good job, man.

Steve Jobs and Admiral Stavridis are proud of you. So, am I.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Importance of Letters - sharing 'my' soapbox with Dr. Moser

By Rod Moser, PA, PhD

Letter writing may be a dying art as communication is increasingly done through emails, Tweets, and Facebook postings. But I love going to the clinic and finding a letter on my desk, perhaps written by a grateful patient. While not all letters indicate good news, I find the written word so much more personal than getting an email.

I save letters (the good ones). I have a drawer full of feel-good letters and cards that I have collected. I save important emails, too, but they are unlikely to bear the test of time. Recently, I moved my office from one area of the clinic to another, so I found my collection. As I recover from shoulder surgery, it made me feel better to read a few.

I have written letters to patients. One letter in particular was written to a sedentary man who was 150 pounds overweight, diabetic, hypertensive, and having periodic chest pains. As much as I harped at him to make lifestyle changes before it was too late, I didn’t seem to be making an impact. I wrote him a letter telling him how worried that I was about his health. His reaction? He stopped coming to see me as a patient. About six months later, I got a call. He was in intensive care after having a heart attack. He called to tell me that my letter made a difference. As soon as he was discharged, he was now ready to make some changes.

Letters can make an impact. After my recent surgery, the anesthesiologist accidentally scratched both of my corneas, resulting in several days of unnecessary pain. It took him a week or so, but he sent me a letter of apology. It really made a difference and diffused much of my anger. Since medical providers make mistakes all of the time, it is really appropriate to acknowledge them and apologize. Some attorneys may question this as an admission of guilt, but it is the human thing to do.

I got a college graduation announcement from a young man today. His father, a PA colleague of mine, died of pancreatic cancer when he was just a child. I have stayed in touch with him and his family ever since, and today I will write him a letter. I will tell him how proud I am of his accomplishment. His father would have been proud, too.

It really doesn’t take very much time to send a handwritten letter. Don’t just send a card on a birthday, include a letter. For the price of a stamp (still a bargain), you have the potential to make an important impact on someone’s life. A hundred years from now, someone may pick up that letter and read it.

We have all learned to pay it forward, but perhaps we need to remember to write it forward, too.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

System of values and standards

The lure of something new and different is powerful in a society where change for its own sake is considered good, and has much more appeal than the lowlier and more painful process of re-establishing our identity and redirecting our internal philosophy to express that identity.  Nevertheless, the time has come for us to move from a period of accommodation to one of reassertion of our basic principles.

The place to start is with our people.  The education and professional development of each Navyman, from recruit (or officer candidate) to trainee to qualified professional, should be founded on a system of values and standards that are unequivocally stated the day the prospective Navyman walks into the recruiting office and professionally developed throughout the entire process of training and service.

The Stranger in the Crowd
Lieutenant Commander K.C. Jacobsen
USNI Proceedings
September 1974

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guilty on all 5 counts - Someone you know?

Five Deadly Sins of Poor Leadership

- Career-First Orientation

- Intolerance of Dissent

- Substitution of Politics for Principle

- Accepting Rhetoric as Reality

- Obsession with Image Enhancement

* Taken from Lt Col Secrist's article - "Defective Leadership: America's Greatest Peril

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts borrowed liberally (stolen) from the Army...

As the Navy struggles with its emerging prominent role in the Post-Iraq War military, it will need to strive to reach an understanding of professionalism as applied to Sailors and to the Department of the Navy itself. Is there one professional military ethic or multiple ethics? Does a professional military ethic apply only to officers? Are officers the only Sailors who should be held to professional standards? Or, should all Sailors be committed to professional standards and functions utilizing specific professional ethics appropriate to their duties?

To help answer these considerations, we can re-conceptualize these nine questions as they apply specifically to the Navy:
  • Who are the Navy's primary stakeholders?
  • What are the central values held by the Navy?
  • What is the ideal relationship between Sailors and their stakeholders?
  • What sacrifices are required of Sailors, and in what respects do the obligations of this profession take priority over other morally relevant considerations affecting Sailors?
  • What are the norms of competence for this profession?
  • What is the ideal relationship between Sailors and co-professionals?
  • What is the ideal relationship between Sailors and the larger community?
  • What should Sailors do to make access to the profession's services available to everyone who needs them?
  • What are Sailors obligated to do to preserve the integrity of their commitment to the profession's values and to educate others about them?
As the Navy answers these questions, it can better develop initiatives to establish codes of conduct and professional education within the military that allow it to more fully meet standards of professionalism. By identifying and achieving professional standards, the Navy can campaign to develop social awareness and encourage endorsement of the Navy's unique service to our country, an endorsement that recognizes the professionalism of the U.S. Navy Sailor.
Stolen from Joint Forces Quarterly article - Are We Professionals?.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Priorities - advice from my former boss

"Control your own time. Don’t let it be done for you. If you are working off the in-box that is fed to you, you are probably working on the priority of others"

Donald Rumsfeld

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Enduring Mission Vision and Goals of the Center for Information Dominance

The Center for Information Dominance Goals have not changed since they were developed in 2000.  I would say that those are enduring goals.  The mission has evolved to include cyber and intelligence training.  The CO's command philosophy is 'right' on the money.

Mission"The mission of the Center for Information Dominance is to deliver full spectrum Cyber, Information Warfare, and Intelligence training to achieve decision superiority."
Vision"Driving global information dominance for our nation by providing an innovative and adaptive information force."

  • Train for War
  • Take Care of People
  • Leverage Technology
  • Build Positive External Relations
  • Influence Resources and Programs Wisely
CO Command Philosophy
"Do What's Right" (DWR) in implementing the 5 Ps: Purpose, Pride, Patience, Persistence, and Perspective.

Monday, July 16, 2012

8 Rules Worth Following

1. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. I believe that without his word, a Sailor is nothing.
2. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate, don’t withhold information, don’t mislead.
3. Show up on time, always.
4. Listen to people.
5. Do the right thing, even if it comes at personal cost.
6. Do things other people aren’t doing.
7. Always be learning something.
8. Work hard not to break these rules.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

True Leader

“No man is a true leader until his appointment is ratified in the minds and hearts of his men.”

“You see, you don’t accept the troops, they were there first. They accept you And when they do, you’ll know. They won’t beat drums, wave flags, or carry you off the grinder on their shoulders, but you’ll know. You see, your orders will appoint you to command. No orders, letters, no insignia of rank can appoint you as a leader. Leadership is an intangible thing. Leadership is developed within yourselves and you’ll get stronger as you go.”


Friday, July 13, 2012

Nothing Unreasonable from your men

“Require nothing unreasonable of your officers and men, but see that whatever is required be punctually complied with. Reward and punish every man according to his merit, without partiality or prejudice; hear his complaints; if well founded, redress them; if otherwise, discourage them, in order to prevent frivolous ones. Discourage vice in every shape, and impress upon the mind of every man, from the first to the lowest, the importance of the cause, and what is it they are contending for.”

–– GEN George Washington

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Importance of the Chiefs Mess in Command Excellence

"The backbone of the Navy" is how one old adage sums up the importance of the Chiefs quarters. Superior commands are especially quick to acknowledge the Chief Petty Officer's special role and contribution. The uniqueness of that role is a function both of the position the Chief occupies in the organizational structure and of the job qualifications that must be satisfied before the position is attained. Chiefs have considerable managerial and technical expertise and are the linchpin between officers and enlisted.

For there to be a strong Chiefs quarters, the Chiefs must feel that they are valued and that they have the authority and responsibility to do the job the way they think it ought to be done. In superior commands, the Chiefs feel that their special leadership role is sanctioned and appreciated by the rest of the command, especially the CO. In these commands, the Chiefs are included in all major activities, particularly planning. Their input is sought and readily given. If they believe that something won't work or that there is a better way to do it, they speak up.

Chiefs in superior commands lead by taking responsibility for their division. They motivate their subordinates, counsel them, defend them when unjustly criticized, monitor and enforce standards, give positive and negative feedback, communicate essential information, solicit input, monitor morale, and take initiative to propose new solutions and to do things before being told.

The Chiefs play a key role in the enforcement of standards. Because they are out and about, they see for themselves whether job performance and military bearing meet the Navy's and the command's requirements.

When work is done well, they offer recognition and rewards; when it is done poorly, they act to correct it. They also know the importance of modeling the kind of behavior they expect their people to display. If they expect their personnel to work long hours to get something done, they work the same hours right along with them. Their concerns extend beyond their immediate areas, however.

Chiefs in superior commands act for command-wide effectiveness, promoting the success of the unit as a whole. Although they have a strong sense of ownership and take responsibility for their division's activities, they are able to look beyond the job at hand: when other departments or divisions need assistance, chiefs in superior commands are willing to help.

The superior Chiefs quarters usually has a strong leader who plays the role of standard-bearer for the command, creates enthusiasm, offers encouragement, and drives others to excel. It is usually someone whom the other chiefs perceive as fair, who stands up for their interests and those of the crew, who listens with an open mind, and who has demonstrated a high degree of technical proficiency.
In superior commands, the Chiefs quarters functions as a tight-knit team. The Chiefs coordinate well, seek inputs from each other, help with personal problems, identify with the command's philosophy and goals, and treat each other with professional respect.
Finally, this ability to perceive larger goals and to work toward them as a team extends to their relationships with division officers. Chiefs in superior commands are sensitive to the difficulties that arise for division officers, who lack experience and technical know-how but must nevertheless take their place as leaders within the chain of command. A superior Chiefs quarters supports and advises these new officers fully and tactfully.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Command Excellence - The Crew

It is the crew, led by the officers and Chiefs, who must ultimately accomplish the command's mission. The crew is where "the keel meets the water." Without a top performing crew, no command can be successful. 

COs of superior commands are particularly adept at molding their crew into a highly unified, spirited, fighting team with a laser-like focus: accomplishing the command's mission. When asked, these crews can not only clearly describe the command's philosophy and goals, but they also voice wholehearted support of the CO and his approach. 

Because the CO, XO, officers, and chiefs frequently explain what they want done and why, the crew knows what is expected of them and feels a part of the team. The result is enthusiasm, motivation, and pride in the command. These crews often praise their CO with the ultimate accolade: "I'd go to war with him." 

In average commands, the crew may not be sure of the command's philosophy or may withhold their total support of it. The crew in superior commands also live up to the high standards demanded by their officers and chiefs. They know that when they succeed, they will be recognized and rewarded; equally well, they know that when they make mistakes, they will be told and corrective action taken. Their commitment to upholding the command's standards generates a strong sense of responsibility for their individual work areas. They act on the principle that if you're going to do something, then do it right, and do it right the first time. 

Crew members of superior commands realize that success depends on a team effort. They don't act or do their jobs in disregard of the rest of the command. They communicate frequently, coordinate activities, and help each other out when necessary. In addition, they are careful about following the chain of command. They know that violating it disrupts teamwork, creates confusion, hurts morale, and hinders leadership.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Command Excellence - Relationships

Command Builds Networks with Outsiders 

Superior commands establish and cultivate a web of relationships with significant people or groups in the external environment and then use those relationships to accomplish their goals. This involves getting information from people, treating them professionally, doing things for them, explaining things, and, in general, being able to influence and work with them successfully. It requires a mindset that sees the larger environment as full of resources rather than obstacles to be avoided or overcome. 

This is not to say that "outsiders" do not at times make life miserable, but the general orientation in superior commands is how to respond positively in these situations and, preferably, prevent such aggravations from occurring. Having wide and frequently utilized communication links to these "centers of power" makes it possible.

Naval Education and Training Command has a link to the "Navigating A New Course to Command Excellence" book that my XO and I produced HEREIt cleans up the work originally done with Command Excellence - What it Takes to be The Best in the 1980s.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lead Differently

Our Sailors are counting on you to provide the leadership so essential to mission success. Great leadership is common. They are looking for extraordinary leadership. It's your job to provide it. Go ahead - lead differently.

Monday, July 2, 2012

NIOC Hawai'i Change of Command - 29 June

Captain Jeff Cole and Captain Justin Kershaw bookend RADM Bill Leigher.

Translating ideas to action - Admiral Stavridis advises...

How can the concepts articulated in writing by transformers/ innovators get translated to action?

Obviously, to see a concept translated into action, it must be presented to a decision maker with time to analyze it and the authority to allocate resources to its fulfillment.

Good ideas have to be short, to the point, and practical for a decision maker to want to allocate resources towards it.

They must also fit the perceived need for improvement (what’s broken?) in the eyes of the decision maker.

There is nothing complicated in this.  It amounts to:
  1. Seeing a problem that needs correcting.
  2. Determining a reasonable solution.
  3. Packaging the solution, idea, or concept with a concrete proposal.
  4. Understanding that to see your ideas achieve traction, you have to be willing, in almost every instance, not to get all the credit for the concept.

Good luck!  More on the process HERE  and HERE.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thoughts for today

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Eleanor Roosevelt