Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.
Musings, leadership tidbits and quotes posted by a retired Navy Captain (really just a high performing 2nd Class Petty Officer) who hung up his uniform a bit too early. He still wears his Navy service on his sleeve. He needs to get over that. "ADVANCE WARNING - NO ORIGINAL THOUGHT!" A "self-appointed" lead EVANGELIST for the "cryptologic community". Keeping CRYPTOLOGY alive-one day and Sailor at a time. 2015 is 80th Anniversary of the Naval Security Group.
|Jeff Bacon on www.broadside.net|
"The professional learns to recognize envy-driven criticism and to take it for what it is: the supreme compliment. The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had the guts."
Based on the accumulated assessment of the students you taught during your assignments, what are the common threads and characteristics that distinguish the best prospective commanding officers from the worst? What is different about those who ‘get it’ from those who don’t?
Submarine command courses prepare officers for submarine command through a process of both teaching and assessment. The price of failure can be high, and while success allows assignment to command, it does not guarantee a successful command. The Submarine Command Course is neither a warfare course nor an academic exercise. It tests leadership, professional knowledge, the desire for excellence, aggressiveness, and a hunger for submarine command. The central focus of the Submarine Command Course is to teach future commanding officers to make good command decisions. Generally there are two types of decisions: analytical and intuitive.
To make analytical decisions one weighs options, balancing risk and gain. This type of decision-making is well understood, and is used often by submarine commanding officers. While this is a necessary strength for command, it is neither sufficient, nor a good predictor of tactical or leadership performance.
Intuitive decisions are made after one detects cues and patterns that emerge from complex situations, and then chooses a course of action that likely will be successful. The action chosen is based on experience-the person has seen similar situations and draws on a “library” of responses (mental models). Based on recognizing the situation that faces him, the decider quickly converges on a course of action and runs a mental simulation of the action. If the simulation ends with success, he executes that option. If the simulation is not successful, he quickly makes adjustments to correct the difficulty or tries another model, running through the process again, until he finds a successful course of action to take. It is important to realize intuitive decisions are made quickly compared to analytical decisions, and the decider is not comparing options. If the first projected course of action works, he executes.
Knowledge of intuitive decision-making is not well understood, but has applications in most tactical and seamanship scenarios. As a simple example, a CO may recognize the patterns emerging from a crossing situation. (“That contact has a zero bearing rate and port angle on the bow, and will collide with me if nothing is done.”) He then projects a mental simulation of his action based on
the “mental models” he has developed through his experience. (“I should turn to starboard now.”) If the projection results in a satisfactory result (“I will get off his track by 2,000 yds, and he will pass safely down my port side”), he executes his decision. If the projection does not have a happy ending (“I will run aground”), he chooses another option to consider (“I should slow and let the contact pass ahead.”). Even in this simple example, one can see that there are several correct courses of action. The CO, by virtue of his experience, quickly can converge on a mental model that will work. We have borrowed this model for intuitive decisions from Dr. Gary Klein1, which serves to provide a useful structure in enhancing intuitive decision-making.
Using the situation facing the student in the Submarine Command Course, we can identify some elements of success:
Good COs can process a lot of data, prioritize important cues, and recognize patterns-they have good situational awareness.
Good COs have a rich library of mental models from which to choose, evaluate, and then decide.
Good COs look for “decision-rich” opportunities. They want to be challenged and to make decisions. They are ambitious and enthusiastic.
Good COs are honest about evaluating themselves relative to the situation. They constantly look to improve their position in the scenario. They are natural “assessors” and “learners.”
Good COs have strong command presence-a quiet self-confidence.
Good COs possess endurance and fortitude.
|This is an incomplete list of some qualities of successful commanding
officers. These qualities are inherent in some more than in others.
It is possible, by having a structured understanding of intuitive
decision-making, to detect natural command potential and to foster
it in all junior officers (even those without strong natural abilities).
We believe professional development and training that focus on
building confident decision-makers can grow these qualities where
they are weak, more quickly identify those officers who may not
have what it takes to command, and help the naturally gifted officers
Editor’s Note: All these officers are submarine officers involved in the training of prospective submarine commanding officers and executive officers.
Reprinted from Proceedings with permission; Copyright (c) April 2005 U.S. Naval Institute/www.navalinstitute.org.
Faced with inevitable change, those who accept the change have the most power to shape the details. It’s not about self-interested conformity or passively accepting defeat; it’s about making decisions based on how things are rather than how we would wish them to be. It’s about seizing the initiative.
When you have legitimate concerns about an order or a policy, you have the right and the obligation to make those concerns known. Be tactful, as the surest way to have your opinion arbitrarily rejected is to frame it as a complaint. Once you’ve voiced your concerns, your duty is to make it work. Fighting it will just cause chaos, but even some of the most harebrained schemes can be saved by determined chiefs and JOs. Think of it as a challenge– if there’s only one person on Earth that could make this plan work, is it you? Who knows, you might even find out that you’re not always right.
|The CNO’s Rapid Innovation Cell is a group of junior leaders tasked with being innovative and coming up with disruptive solutions."|
I see man’s mind cannot be satisfied unless it be illumined by that truth beyond which there exists no other truth.Dante - Paradiso IV.124-126.
"I'm still learning every day. I still try to do my best and refuse to worry about things over which I have no control."- Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz
"Humility is a way of acknowledging that none of us stand at the center of the universe. No matter what role we occupy, or how much we know, we don’t have a lock on the answers. A position of authority over others scarcely guarantees that you have real authority.
When leaders openly accept the whole of who they are – for better and for worse – they no longer have to defend their value so vigilantly."Are you being too defensive?
Small Idea = Small Problem
Big Idea = Big Problem
No Idea = No Problem
Organizational health is about making a command function effectively by building a cohesive leadership team, establishing real clarity among those Navy leaders, communicating that clarity to all the Sailors, Chiefs, civilians and contractors within the command and putting in place just enough structure to reinforce that clarity going forward.
The advantage of organizational health is undeniable and massive. Commands get more done in less time. They avoid losing their best Sailors, Chiefs, civilians and contractors. They identify problems earlier and solve them faster. They fill the gap for low performing commands which waste time, money and energy fighting among themselves, which ultimately drives away good Sailors, Chiefs, civilians and contractors.
|CAPTAIN JOSEPH ROCHEFORT|
Start being a leader as soon as you put on your civilian clothes. If you see intolerance and hate, speak out against them. Make your individual voices heard, not for selfish things, but for honor and decency among men, for the rights of all people.
Remember too, that No American can afford to be disinterested in any part of his government, whether it is county, city, state or nation.
Choose your leaders wisely- that is the way to keep ours the country for which you fought. Make sure that those leaders are determined to maintain peace throughout the world. You know what war is. You know that we must not have another. As individuals you can prevent it if you give to the task which lies ahead the same spirit which you displayed in uniform.
... I know the people of America are counting on you.
General J M WAINWRIGHT