Over the past year, my Fleet Master Chief and I have spent considerable time visiting units at the waterfront and throughout the Fleet to hear directly from our Sailors and our leadership teams. As we talked about our visits and compared notes, we noticed that there were certain characteristics present in each of the “stand out” commands that we visited and so we released the message “Practices of Successful Commands” to get the word out about what those prominent commands were doing that made them stand out so positively above the rest.
A few months later, I released a follow-up message “Practices of Successful Commands Part II” and asked that you give a good “spin” to a few of the programs that I felt needed some extra attention to keep them on track.
This past week, FLTCM Stevens and I released a third message “Practices of Successful Commands Part III” that gets at the heart of what I believe is the foundation of mission success – Trust. Fleet Stevens and I routinely see that the stand-out commands in our AOR are those that focus on meaningful contact with their Sailors at every opportunity. These contacts, be they at routine events such as morning quarters or engagements by officers and CPOs out and about on the deckplates, where candid, meaningful and two-way conversation with Sailors can take place, are where trust is built.
You can follow the link above, or see the full message below. Give it a good read when you have a moment and tell me what you think…I believe the message should resonate with our Civilians just as much as our Sailors.
All the best, JCHjr
P 071730Z DEC 10 ZYB PSN 889326K36
FM COMUSFLTFORCOM NORFOLK VA//N00//
INFO COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI//N00//
CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
UNCLAS PERSONAL FOR COMMANDERS, COMMANDING OFFICERS, OFFICERS IN CHARGE, AND COMMAND MASTER CHIEFS FROM ADM HARVEY AND FLTCM STEVENS//
MSGID/GENADMIN/COMUSFLTFORCOM NORFOLK VA//
SUBJ/PRACTICES OF SUCCESSFUL COMMANDS - PART THREE//
NARR/REF A IS PRACTICES OF SUCCESSFUL COMMANDS. REF B IS
PRACTICES OF SUCCESSFUL COMMANDS PART TWO.//
1. OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, WE HAVE SPENT A GREAT DEAL OF TIME AND EFFORT TO IMPROVE OUR NAVY'S ABILITY TO CARRY OUT OUR MISSIONS IN EACH OF THE PRIMARY WARFIGHTING DOMAINS - ON AND UNDER THE SEA, IN THE AIR, ON THE GROUND AND IN CYBERSPACE. THE FOUNDATION FOR OPERATIONAL SUCCESS IN EACH OF THESE DOMAINS IS OUR ABILITY TO LEAD OUR SAILORS, TO GAIN AND HOLD THEIR TRUST, TO DELIVER OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEIR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AND TO GIVE THEM THE TOOLS, TRAINING AND TIME REQUIRED TO PERFORM THEIR ASSIGNED TASKS. IN SHORT, WE MUST FIRST SUCCEED IN THE HUMAN DOMAIN BEFORE WE CAN EVER SUCCEED IN OUR WARFIGHTING DOMAINS.
2. ACHIEVING THIS SUCCESS WITH OUR SAILORS IN THE HUMAN DOMAIN IS NOT AN EASY TASK; INDEED IT SEEMS TO GROW MORE CHALLENGING OVER TIME. THE PACE OF OUR OPERATIONS HAS BEEN STEADILY INCREASING SINCE 9/11 AND SHOWS NO SIGN OF SLACKING OFF. THE TRENDS IN GLOBAL DISORDER THAT PRESENT A VARIETY OF CHALLENGES TO THE FREE AND UNTRAMMELED USE OF THE MARITIME DOMAIN ARE INCREASING, AND IT APPEARS WE ARE ABOUT TO ENTER A PERIOD OF CONSTRAINED RESOURCES WHILE THE DEMAND FOR WHAT THE NAVY CAN DELIVER FOR OUR NATION'S SECURITY WILL CONTINUE TO GROW. A DAUNTING SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES, TO BE SURE, BUT NONETHELESS A SITUATION WE HAVE FACED, AND OVERCOME, BEFORE.
3. MISSION SUCCESS - WHETHER WITH OUR SHIPS, OUR SUBMARINES, OUR AVIATION SQUADRONS, OUR EXPEDITIONARY UNITS, OR OUR CYBER FORCES - HAS BEEN, IS TODAY AND WILL BE DEPENDENT ON OUR COMMANDERS AND THE SAILORS THEY LEAD OPERATING TO THE LIMITS OF THEIR AUTHORITY IN A DECENTRALIZED COMMAND AND CONTROL STRUCTURE BUILT ON TRUST. WITHOUT TRUST, WE CANNOT DELEGATE AUTHORITY. WITHOUT AUTHORITY, WE CANNOT FULFILL OUR RESPONSIBILITIES. WITHOUT THE DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY, WE CANNOT OPERATE AS A NAVY.
4. SO IT IS THAT TRUST IS THE FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCK OF OUR COMMAND AND CONTROL STRUCTURE AND OUR ABILITY TO ACHIEVE MISSION SUCCESS. AND TRUST IS BUILT THROUGH HUMAN CONTACT, THROUGH MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT AT EVERY LEVEL OF THE HUMAN DOMAIN. FLEET STEVENS AND I ROUTINELY SEE THAT THE STAND-OUT COMMANDS IN OUR AOR ARE THOSE THAT FOCUS ON MEANINGFUL CONTACT WITH THEIR SAILORS AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY. THESE CONTACTS, BE THEY AT ROUTINE EVENTS SUCH AS MORNING QUARTERS OR ENGAGEMENTS BY OFFICERS AND CPOS OUT AND ABOUT ON THE DECKPLATES, WHERE CANDID, MEANINGFUL AND TWO-WAY CONVERSATION WITH SAILORS CAN TAKE PLACE, ARE WHERE TRUST IS BUILT. TOO OFTEN WE SEE COMMAND COMMUNICATIONS DEVOLVE TO IMPERSONAL, AND VERY IMPERFECT, FORMS OF CONTACT, DEVOID OF THE CONTEXT THAT CAN ONLY COME FROM FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATIONS. ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK YOUR SAILORS IN THE EYE AND ENGAGE THEM ON THE ISSUES IMPORTANT TO YOU AND TO THEM. ALWAYS BE READY FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD TRUST WITH THOSE YOU LEAD.
5. ANOTHER COMMON DENOMINATOR THAT WE HAVE FOUND AT SUCCESSFUL COMMANDS IS A COMMANDER AND COMMAND TEAM THAT HOLDS THEMSELVES, AND THEIR SAILORS, ACCOUNTABLE TO ESTABLISHED STANDARDS AS THEY FULFILL THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES. HUMAN CONTACT BUILDS TRUST, ACCOUNTABILITY SUSTAINS TRUST. WHEN TRUST AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE INSTITUTIONALIZED IN THE ROUTINE OF A COMMAND, THE RESULT IS LONG-TERM SUCCESS. WHEN ACCOUNTABILITY IS NOT ENFORCED, THE COMMAND AND CONTROL STRUCTURE, WHICH IS HELD TOGETHER BY TRUST, FALLS APART AND THE COMMAND EVENTUALLY FAILS.
6. AS THE FLEET MASTER CHIEF AND I VISIT THE WATERFRONT TO MAKE REGULAR EYE-TO-EYE CONTACT WITH YOU, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU TELL US ABOUT THE CHALLENGES YOU ARE FACING IN FULFILLING YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO US. OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO SET THE CONDITIONS FOR YOUR SUCCESS, BUT NOT TO MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL - THAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. OUR NATION HAS PLACED A GREAT DEAL OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN EACH OF US, SO WE EACH HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE NOTHING BUT OUR VERY BEST IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OUR DUTIES.
7. ADMIRAL J. C. HARVEY JR., COMMANDER, U.S. FLEET FORCES AND FLTCM (AW/NAC) MIKE STEVENS, SEND.//