Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

XO Leadership Lessons From The '80s

One of my old shipmates got this from his old XO back in the mid-80s, written from an XOs perspective on how to be an effective leader. How much do you think is still applicable for the Submarine Force? Or do you think it was ever applicable?

"Proverbs and Other Pearls of Wisdom"

There is a reference for everything. Cite it.

Repair in accordance with plan (see above).
COROLLARY ONE: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
COROLLARY TWO: If it’s not operating in accordance with design specifications (no matter how intermittently) it’s broke.
COROLLARY THREE: People sometimes heal themselves without assistance. Machines never do.

Johnson’s first principle of leadership: First, you get their attention.

The highest compliment you can pay (or be paid): “You do nice work.”
The worst compliment: “Nice work, but...”
Compliment the man/woman, then tell his/her boss.

Never surprise a man with his evaluation. If he hasn’t been periodically and formally counseled on his performance relative to his peers, he suffers from bad leadership.

Proofread three times:
Format (check the reference)
Grammar and spelling
Meaning (Pretend you’re the guy on the receiving end. What action would you take?)
COROLLARY: Proofread your rough draft. If the Yeoman can’t easily turn it into a smooth product, rewrite and resubmit.

The worst deficiency ever written: The ship failed to… “as required by ship’s instructions.”
COROLLARY ONE: If there is no requirement, don’t do it.
COROLLARY TWO: If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have the time to do it over?
COROLLARY THREE: Where the “right” way and the “Navy” way differ, the “Navy” way generally keeps rework under 10%.
COROLLARY FOUR: You get what you inspect, not what you expect.
(Current CO) COROLLARY: If your people do not safely start work 20 minutes after quarters, whether it’s training or wrench-turning, they suffer from bad leadership.

Formality means doing things the same way every time, with positive feedback on instruction action and completion. Formality keeps the rework under 10%, gets the ship underway on time, keeps the lights burning, and the ship afloat, off the rocks and undetected.
COROLLARY ONE: Anything worth ordering is worth a completion report.
COROLLARY TWO: “Assume” makes an ass out of you and me.
COROLLARY THREE: Verbatim compliance is very formal. However, at no time are you authorized to screw up formally in the execution of an approved procedure.
COROLLARY FOUR: If you want credibility, be consistent in your standards and requirements.

The worst time waster is poor training. If you are responsible for the training and despite your best planning it’s going poorly, you can do one of three things, two of which are acceptable:

Do nothing, establishing a new low standard of acceptability.
Stop the training and reschedule it when preparation is better.
Step in and assist in conducting the training yourself (if you are qualified to do so) to make it acceptable.

Aim your training at your best people, not your average guy. If you desire some 2.5 level knowledge, train at 4.0, test to 3.4 - 3.8, and you will probably achieve the desired 2.5 level. If you train and test to 2.5 you are certain to achieve less. You will also waste the time of your best people (not to mention your own) and convince your people that training is the least productive thing, rather than one of the most important things they do.

PARKINSON’S LAW OF WORD PROCESSING: Work expands to fill all word processing capability available for its completion. A word processor is a remarkable device designed to increase administrative workload.

THE DELEGATION PRINCIPLE: Examine every assignment you get and ask yourself at what level it should be done. Assign it to that level, conduct the necessary training, establish a reasonable due date, then review the product. The final product will be of better quality, your men will be better trained and utilized, and you will have the time to do the things you’re really supposed to be doing.

Johnson’s Key to Administrative Success: Keep your IN basket empty and your OUT basket full. Act on it, forward it, delegate it, or return it the same day. Your working “limbo” pile should never exceed the capacity of one small desk drawer.
COROLLARY ONE: There are only so many hours available for reading things in detail. Use them wisely.
COROLLARY TWO: The correct action to take on many items is to throw them away. Do so with gusto.
(Current CO) COROLLARY: Bureaucrats exert power by sitting on paperwork.

Johnson’s Rule of Proportional Excellence (or why some ships always seem to get all the good people):
About 5% of the men you get would be losers wherever they went. Try to do in the few months you have with them what their parents were unable to do in 18 years. Work hard to save them until the day you “can” them. You will save, at best, one out of five.
70% to 80% will be superstars, good guys, okay guys, or losers depending on the company they keep, and the training and leadership they receive. What is done with this group separates the good ships from the average and the not so good.
10% - 20% would be superstars wherever they went (but really shine with good leadership and training).

The “Rack-him-out” Principle: If someone has failed to meet your established deadline for accomplishing a task, or has accomplished it incorrectly, he owes you an explanation (to be provided at your convenience, not his) and the right to correctly accomplish the task (again, at your convenience, not his). He forfeited his right to do his work at his convenience when he missed his deadline without explanation. RACK HIM OUT. I assure you these lessons will not be forgotten.
COROLLARY ONE: If you are assigned a deadline, don’t let it pass without completing the project or negotiating a new due date in advance (or standby to be racked out).
COROLLARY TWO: Figure out what kind of tickler system works best for you and use it.
COROLLARY THREE: Figure out what kind of tickler system your boss uses and periodically (at least weekly) check it to see if yours and his agree with what you owe him.

The status quo cannot be maintained by holding what you’ve got. You must be constantly striving to improve just to stay even.

Troubleshooting and Repair Precautions (Or why you are paid so much to maintain and operate your ship)

Not every permissible course of action or solution is necessarily detailed in the technical manual or operating procedures.
Specifically permitted actions are not necessarily always good ideas.
Not all dumb courses of action are specifically prescribed. This self-evident axiom is sometimes referred to as General Order Number One: Don’t be stupid.

In goal-oriented organizations (e.g. Navy), good performance tends to be equated with moral integrity and individual worth. Avoid the trap that “good performer” equals “good person,” “mediocre performer” equals “mediocre person,” and “bad performer” equals “bad person;” not all good performers are “good” people and not all bad performers are “bad” people. Do not overlook a character flaw for fear of upsetting or losing a good performer. Along the same lines, never discipline a person who honestly tries but doesn’t have what it takes to produce. There are humane ways to get him transferred where he can be of use somewhere else or separated if he is not.

Most people (greater than 90%), including most marginal performers, are inherently good people. Not only do they really want to do a good job, but they also honestly believe (through self-illusion if necessary) that they are “better” and their job performance is “just as good” if not better than most of the other guys in their division, department, or ship. This positive self-image is important for good mental health. A person who honestly believes that he is inferior to his peers is a candidate for suicide. Unless presented with detailed, specific, compelling evidence to the contrary, the average person maintains this positive self-image and has no motivation to work harder or better. In his mind he is already working hard enough and good enough. In fact, if questioned he will respond that he is working too hard and doing a better job than required.

Emotional appeals, especially those not backed up by specific details, rarely change perceptions or performance. Fear is a perfectly good leadership technique that can have spectacular results in the short term. If you are particularly skilled with “boot camp leadership,” you can even make it work in the long run. But do not expect to turn the average performer into a self-motivated superstar with this approach. It is likely that you will get, at best, letter of the law compliance.

A mediocre performer can sometimes be led out of his “good enough” rut by frequent, disparate comparison of his performance with the desired standard and counseling on specific ways to improve. This is not to be confused with chewing out. If you can alter his perception of his performance relative to his peers and your standards, and show him how to do better, you are well on your way to developing a self-motivated individual who takes genuine pride in his accomplishments and can be depended upon to do more than just what is required.

If you see something being done incorrectly and fail to take note or take action to correct it, you have:
given your implicit approval for it to be done incorrectly in the future; and
set a new (and lower) standard.

Look your sharpest on Mondays. You’ll like twice as good by comparison.

Keep the bitching lamp out. Complaints are festering sores, if a man has a problem, help him address it through the chain of command.

If valid, fix it.
If not valid, complaining won’t help. Help him live with it quietly.
If valid and truly unfixable, complaining won’t help. Help him live with it quietly.

Work a reasonable length of day to meet your objectives, then go home. There will be plenty of other long days to satisfy the workaholic in you.

Be a “can-do” guy. Being cheerful and positive on the outside gets the job done better and helps you over the hump when you have personal misgivings. This is sometimes called supporting the chain of command. It is also gives you credibility when you have a valid complaint.
COROLLARY ONE: Attitude attacks are authorized - but only in private with your department head, XO, CO, or close friend. Remember, no matter how good the job, some days suck.
COROLLARY TWO: When your best “can-do” guy has an attitude attack, get to the bottom of the problem and fix it fast. At least talk to him if you can’t fix it. Can-do guys fight through attitude attacks, and talking about it often helps them do that faster.

Johnson’s Duty, Honor, Country Philosophy: A man who has served his country honorably for three, four, six, or 20 years is a patriot. His decision to change jobs is his own. Use all the tools at your disposal to keep him in the Navy, but honor his final decision and always treat him like the patriot he is.

The Navy is not a cubic mile monolith in Washington, DC, which periodically charges up to vast potential and zaps the innocent, and helpless sailor. The Navy is people, and people sometimes makes mistakes. People can fix mistakes. Help your men - something can almost always be done to right a wrong (see below).

Anything that has been made by man can be fixed by man.

Whether your recurring problems are with people or machines, look for the common factor. A good sailor abhors a “coincidence.”
COROLLARY: Sometimes the common factor is you. Be able to make that determination and act accordingly.

Sailors (also spelled people) will do anything asked of them as long as they get about 6-8 hours of sleep a day and about one day out of every seven off.
COROLLARY ONE: Sailors work better if they understand what they are doing. Active support always results in better performance than grudging compliance.
COROLLARY TWO: When the work is done, go home. Nothing lowers credibility like make-work.
COROLLARY THREE: There is more work to do than time available to do it. Planning prevents the possibility of wasting time with make-work.

P.S. It doesn’t always work. If it doesn’t, you know you have been honest and fair, and done your best.

“Always do right, this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

- Mark Twain

“It is not the will to win that counts. Everyone has the will to win. It is the will to practice to win that counts.”

- Bobby Knight

48 Comments:

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

When I was in command, I had a small engraved sign posted in my desk. It stated 3 maxims for success, understandings of the ways of the world that a good skipper needed to keep in front of him:

1. The stupid will be punished.

2. Natural laws have no pity.

3. Time wounds all heels.

(No apologies for Maxim 1, Joel — I got there first. Prefer 'will' to 'shall' — latter implies some third-party force involved, whereas I think individuals can bring enough stupid with them on their own to induce the wrath of nature.)

ps. What you doing up at godawful-o'clock?

4/16/2009 4:35 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Vomiting. Still in "not quite back to normal" mode from the surgery.

4/16/2009 4:56 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

If I had my own desk, my sign would say: "My morale will continue until the beatings improve".

4/16/2009 4:58 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Joel: sucks. But beats the alternative.

4/16/2009 5:30 AM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I drafted something similar on my way to command; something for the XO and DHs. In the end I discussed them instead of handing them out. My philosophy was three short paragraphs--and it was not based on core values. The idea was to tell them how I wanted things to run. "The best of all possible subs."

Leadership is an amazing thing. Those who would aspire to be even decent leaders should read as much as they can. Even better, for every boss you ever have, ask yourself why they were (or were not) good leaders. Reading is one thing, seeing for yourself is priceless.

4/16/2009 5:40 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I'm pretty sure that no one ever thought of an ELT as a patriot. That's an interesting theory....

4/16/2009 6:54 AM

 
Blogger Free The Nucs said...

re: "Johnson’s Duty, Honor, Country Philosophy: A man who has served his country honorably for three, four, six, or 20 years is a patriot. His decision to change jobs is his own. Use all the tools at your disposal to keep him in the Navy, but honor his final decision and always treat him like the patriot he is."

XO's Addendum:
...unless it's time to hand out awards. Since you can only give out so many NAMs, be sure and save those for the guys who aren't getting out. In fact, feel free to bag any SOB who doesn't plan on re-enlisting as often as you can. Be sure to short-cycle him if he's on a Trident. It's not like he can complain about it!

4/16/2009 7:05 AM

 
Blogger Free The Nucs said...

oh, wait.. yes he can...

4/16/2009 7:07 AM

 
Anonymous SJV said...

@freethenukes (FTN?)

Seems like you've got some unresolved issues. I got out after six too, but I'm more than glad that the guys who wanted to stay got whatever recognition the CO was allowed to hand out. They needed it much more than I did, and I really didn't want an award from a guy who couldn't even submit it to Subgroup in time for it to be included in my DD214.

4/16/2009 7:32 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of good points. But it needs an editor to trim it quite a bit. The author should take that item about word processors to heart.

-- a retired editor

4/16/2009 7:48 AM

 
Blogger Chap said...

@Joel: Sorry to hear about the nausea. Get well soon, consarn it!

@ELT: Darn right ELT's are! They may be over there in Nucleonics, but they are on a boat, far from home, living the life, working the hours and still have to help with the wrenches. You coulda been Air Force...

4/16/2009 7:53 AM

 
Blogger Chap said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/16/2009 7:57 AM

 
Blogger Chap said...

(corrected for clarification)

@Freed Nuke: Admitting that medals in the aggregate are always unfair even with the best humans can do with them, blocking awards for short timers is bad leadership too. I was at a command like that early on and vowed to ensure it didn't happen under my watch--in other commands, we tried hard to make sure the halo effect didn't overtly skew the assessment of which achievement was meritorious enough to take the effort to push the paper through the system.

4/16/2009 8:01 AM

 
Anonymous SJV said...

Just one comment today. All of those are good habits, but mostly they are management rules, as I see it. Leadership is way more simple.

I haven't been directly involved in Sub force for some time now, but I suspect things are not too much changed.

My observation is that while all of the XO/CO/DH folks think they are a major factor in the performance of the boat, they are not. (Obviously you guys think you are, since nowhere in this post does it even mention listening to your chiefs.) Since the performance of the junior enlisted in large part determines the performance of the boat, the major driver in small group performance (watchgroups) is the senior enlisted that are in direct, daily contact with the "grunts". Boats with good EDEA's and COB's can lead the Chiefs and LPO's who drive the real performance, and so they do well. SO, bad CO's with good chiefs get good results, and good CO's with bad chiefs get bad results.

So, no, I don't think the LL's you have are relevant now, and I don't think they really were relevant then. Any philosophy that ignores the major factor in performance (the chiefs and the grunts) is not so good.

4/16/2009 8:23 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some ANAV wisdom:

- Always check Ref A. Another QM who wrote the message put it in there for a reason.

- QM's don't do extra work if they don't have to. Check Ref A.

Jim C.

4/16/2009 10:05 AM

 
Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Jim C. sez:

- Always check Ref A. Another QM who wrote the message put it in there for a reason. Sheez, I just lectured my students on this this morning!

Then, of course, there's those "WTF?" calls to the SUBOPAUTH: Goes something like this;

"Hey, guys, did ya READ the references you used in the message you sent me? I would hope so, since YOU wrote them"!

(No offense, Jim...In your defense, I never had that conversation with -74 {Back when Tony C. was there}. Only -82)

4/16/2009 11:54 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Former elt 2jv - one of the finest patriots I have ever known was an ELT on OHIO when I was ENG from 92-95. He was a patriot then and after. Google LT Jeff Ammon and be proud.

- Michael

4/16/2009 12:31 PM

 
Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

So why not wonder if a CO doesn’t have the required “Machiavellian intelligence”....where he doesn’t have the skills in order to get the required resources in order for his boat to meet it’s mission. The proper intelligence in order to effectively alert his squadron, command and upper brass, these are my vulnerabilities and my deficiencies, with him having the wherewithal to make the system meet the needs of his submarine’s immediate mission and long term availabilities.

4/16/2009 12:52 PM

 
Anonymous SJV said...

@MM

Huh?

4/16/2009 1:38 PM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

FTN, I can only imagine the ass clowns you must have worked for. I never decided against an award based on whether or not they were staying in. That's garbage. Rankings, on the other hand, will affect those that are staying in, so you have to be a bit more discerning. Even then, there was more than one occasion when someone getting out got an EP because I could not in good conscience tell him he wasn't at the top. Awards-free, attaboyz-free, command coins--but a genuine feel good moment for both.

Oh-and former_ELT_2JV--everyone who gives service can be a patriot.

4/16/2009 1:53 PM

 
Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"everyone who gives service can be a patriot."

Hear, hear!

4/16/2009 2:18 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mikey,

Please enroll in a rudimentary English composition course. You'll learn the fundamental skills needed to convey your ideas to others through the written word.

As it is, the string of words you try to pass off as intelligent commentary really only amount to so much babble. And when you do deliver something intelligible, it's either attributable to someone else or has been blatently plagiarized by you.

In the six months of your trolling Joel's blog, there have been countless negative comments targeted at you, and absolutely zero positive ones. The reasons for the overwhelmingly negative comments are:

Your comments are off topic
Your comments say nothing
Your comments are boring
You want to sound intelligent, but fail
You're full of yourself
Your grammer is terrible
Your syntax is worse
Your punctuation is nonexistant
And on and on and on...

Even though there's been talk that you sometimes drive a truck or operate a steam shovel in a children's book, we all know you're unemployable and unemployed. So you should have plenty of time to enroll in a 3rd or 4th grade writing course. If you did, and if you actually learned a little writing skill, it's possible that you might eventually communicate something that had a bit of substance. But probably not.

Birdie

4/16/2009 3:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Dammit Mikey!!

How many times must you be corrected? You are not to attempt to countermand anyone else on this blog. We've had countless discussions about your poor manners and your habitual need to talk out of turn.

Mikey as your new husband, I feel some corrective action is in order. This evening before dinner, you'll report to the woodshed for two sets of 12 swats across the bare as you bend over the saw horse for an olde fashioned paddling. You will remain in position for the full duration of the 24 hard strokes you have clearly earned yourself. If you resist, if you attempt to indulge in any meaningless discourse then we start over with stroke #1.


One way or another young man, you will learn to mind your proper place in life.

There after, if you continue to act as a dullard and an idiotic Jack-ass in public, I will next order a horse whipping with a 4 pound leather lash to be deployed upon your upper back in full public view. Think twice before you open your mouth again Mikey.
Remember, You're mother has given me full control over your estate, inheritance and your very person.

Clearly you've forgotten that fine aspect of the prenuptial.

Now Behave Mikey, or you will be most sorry.

4/16/2009 4:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sexual fetishists are infiltrating this blog. It's just like being back on the sub.

4/16/2009 6:11 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with all but the 'rack them out' principle. And not so much the principle itself, but the usual application of this principle which tends to violate the 'emotional appeal' principle later on that list. (and a few others)

4/16/2009 6:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Srvd_CO,

Don't waste your time trying to make ftn's long-suffering attitude seem justified.

He will _always_ be right and his superiors will _always_ be self-serving rubes.

J

4/16/2009 9:29 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ret anav said:

"Hey, guys, did ya READ the references you used in the message you sent me? I would hope so, since YOU wrote them"!"

No offense taken, because unfortunately, I have sent one or two messages out that made little sense after reading Ref A. I always give the other guy credit as I kick myself while sending "1. Cancel ref a."

Those were the good old days!

4/16/2009 10:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“COROLLARY ONE: Sailors work better if they understand what they are doing. Active support always results in better performance than grudging compliance.”


How about delegating? There is very little here indicating as to how to delegate the day’s work load down to your Chief and LPO. It’s their job to see to it that the junior enlisted get it done do it right and do it now. It’s not necessary for the boat’s XO or DH to explain to the entire division as to how or why we’re to keep a closer watch in monitoring the temp of each tube regarding pneumatics, humidity and so on. That’s the Chief’s and LPO’s job. The XO and DH doesn’t to need to give us a detailed explanation as to why we’re to make certain we each buy a bottle of lemon scented Windex in order to clean and shine the Boat’s windows so we can get a better view of the sharks and other sea monsters while underway. In the end it’s the Chief’s and LPO’s job to break the details of each job assigned to us younglings and explain it in a capacity in which we’ll understand. The XO isn’t going to do that. He doesn’t have time to do so. Once he delegates to the Chief as to what’s to be done, then the XO and the DH will disappear and maybe follow up later in the day. That’s pretty much how the whole system functions or at least how it supposed to function under “normal” conditions.





(Current CO) COROLLARY: If your people do not safely start work 20 minutes after quarters, whether it’s training or wrench-turning, they suffer from bad leadership.


20 minutes? Oh my, you mean I have time for a 2nd cup of coffee? How about we get into motion of preparation within two minutes once it’s time to turn to? Again, who’s job is it to make that happen? I’m not sure, but it might be the guys wearing those shiny gold anchors.

Delegate…Delegate…Delegate.
That’s the only job an XO and DH should have to do.
If that ain’t happening, THEN we have a problem to deal with.


MT2 WidgetHead

4/16/2009 11:27 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Chap/Srvd_SSN_CO:

No, I'm pretty sure if you saw what went on inside once the door to the lab was closed you wouldn't consider any ELT to be a patriot.

Now, an E-Div'r is a true patriot. They write funny stories for us to laugh at (see the Guam Bomb on the EM-Log).

4/17/2009 6:38 AM

 
Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

This is one of those areas where I wouldn't know, but I know this: Nearly every single XO I had (surface or shore) were all jerks. Only one of them did her job, reached out to the troops, and established a cameraderie with both enlisted and officer that really meant something to all of us.

4/17/2009 7:11 AM

 
Blogger Free The Nucs said...

>> FTN, I can only imagine the ass clowns you must have worked for.

Some were awesome, some weren't.

Unfortunately, in our line of work, there's no room for mediocre leaders. If you can literally order someone to their death, if you have that power over other people, you had better be the very best leader since Jesus. There's just no excuse for anything less.


Bad leaders can and should be held accountable for each and every screwup, each and every demand for obsequiousness, each and every petulant act.

4/17/2009 7:18 AM

 
Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"buy a bottle of lemon scented Windex in order to clean and shine the Boat’s windows so we can get a better view of the sharks and other sea monsters while underway."

That's on the Seaview, right?

4/17/2009 9:03 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Former elt 2jv - one of the finest patriots I have ever known was an ELT on OHIO when I was ENG from 92-95. He was a patriot then and after. Google LT Jeff Ammon and be proud.Well, this is how this works-- L Ammon was such a patriot that he stopped being an ELT to become an O-ganger.

Yep, he was still in the fraternity (of ELT's), but he was late in paying his annual fee for some time (at least 1 gaffed off primary a year) while he was an active member-- I've reached Alumni status.

Oh, and basically anyone who gets shot in Iraq is a patriot. Any one who gets shot in nucleonics had bad luck.

4/17/2009 10:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"buy a bottle of lemon scented Windex in order to clean and shine the Boat’s windows so we can get a better view of the sharks and other sea monsters while underway."

That's on the Seaview, right?

Don, when a few of us were nubs, we were required to carry a bottle of Windex on our body at all times.

If anyone stopped one of us to ask why we were carrying it around, we literally had to say, "To clean and shine the Boat’s windows so we can get a better view of the sharks and other sea monsters while underway."

You should have seen the bewildered looks we got when asked about it. Most were shaking their heads and grinning when walking away.

WidgetHead

4/17/2009 11:34 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a_former_elt_2jv said...

No, I'm pretty sure if you saw what went on inside once the door to the lab was closed you wouldn't consider any ELT to be a patriot.Dude, do you really think that your viewpoints are representative of the average fleet ELT? I have certainly met one or two who say the kind of shit that you do, but I think most of them actually do their job like they are supposed to.

4/17/2009 11:46 AM

 
Blogger tennvol said...

All pretty good guidelines. A couple that I've come to appreciate in the civilian world:

“Tell me how you measure me and I will tell you how I will behave!”

"Two things that aren't the same are different."

4/17/2009 12:36 PM

 
Blogger Don the Baptist said...

"we literally had to say, "To clean and shine the Boat’s windows"

Thanks widgetHead, your real-life is funnier than the Seaview remark.

4/17/2009 12:36 PM

 
Blogger submandave said...

As Div-O I gave my folks two rules:
1. Do the right thing.
2. If you "screw" up and don't do the right thing, tell someone so it can get fixed.

In my reserve life it's served pretty well, too.

I admit that I once moved a soon-to-be retiring EP to MP in order to properly recognize another sailor who really excelled and developed over the period, but I wrote it up as such and discussed it with the member before.

4/17/2009 3:34 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some good thoughts here.

One of my philosophies I would always tell my guys is...

Don't be a stupid as the other guy.

When I left the boat, a few of my guys said it always made them think before acting!

I knew LT Jeff Ammon! Great officer and not because he died in Afgahanistan!

STSCS(SS/SW) USN RET

4/17/2009 7:38 PM

 
Blogger Ret ANAV said...

One of my philosophies I would always tell my guys is...

Don't be a stupid as the other guy.

When I left the boat, a few of my guys said it always made them think before acting!
Mine was a bit more colorful:

"Anav Rule #4: Don't D1ck yourself"

I had several rules that have served me and my guys well over the years. Rules 1 and 2 are obvious, so I won't state them here.

ANAV Rule #3: Our ability to excell in our profession is directly proportional to our ability to un-complicate things.

ANAV Rule #5: NEVER take your ship to a place your mind has not already been.

ANAV Rule #6: Before you maneuver, picture in your mind what you are about to show the ship in front of you.

ANAV Rule #7: Make your tracks reversible. Refer to rule #3.

ANAV Rule #8: Procedural compliance is not a goal, it is a STANDARD.

ANAV Rule #9: Never be the senior guy with bad news. Bad news NEVER gets better with time.

ANAV Rule #10: If I'm within 10 minutes of the end of my career, I want to be there for it. (Note: This actually came from one of my old CO's, but I never forgot it and adopted it for myself.)

4/18/2009 3:16 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Dude, do you really think that your viewpoints are representative of the average fleet ELT? I have certainly met one or two who say the kind of shit that you do, but I think most of them actually do their job like they are supposed to.Average fleet ELT, probably not. Average submarine ELT, definitely.

We've got to keep in mind there are between 80-100 ELT's (or something like that) on the CVN 65, and 30-50 on all the other carriers (I would guess). Factor in shore duty for the surface guys, throw in the minority of submarine ELT's and you've got a different average.

And if you're a good ELT then you wouldn't even know what was wrong. RL-Div looks out for it's own (for the most part)-- see the example of the USS Hampton for what happens when someone in the minority of ELT's speaks up. It's a fraternity, we look out for our own, and that's what there is to say about that.

But for fairness, let's ask Joel-- On the 22 or 23, what was the general level of energy/effort/attitude of the ELT's? Did they have a good level of morale? Did they get a decent level of time off?

I remember hearing that on the 22, shortly after commissioning, they had the EDMC listed in an ELT billet to keep manning up to the proper levels. I heard he wasn't an MM (nor one of those crazy IC/EM ELT's you ran into from time to time) but RL-div was light. Did this mysterious EDMC ever sample a primary-- no. Did he help with SVM, sample a SG, help with pure water-- no.

Oh, I was in Hawaii, but the fraternity was small, and we all heard about everything. I was 7,000 miles away from the San Juan in Kittery in 99, but I knew what the RL-div problems on that one were too.

4/18/2009 7:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the end it’s the Chief’s and LPO’s job to break the details of each job assigned to us younglings and explain it in a capacity in which we’ll understand. The XO isn’t going to do that."Yet so many XO's can and DO try to do exactly that. They drive the CPO Quarters nuts. Same goes for DH's.

It is alarming to me that so many officers write alot of pretty words about leadership & management techniques on submarines yet have so few (if any) words about the guys who RUN THE SHIP.

STSC

4/18/2009 10:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is absolutely true Chief.

The XO and the DH need to be seen but not always heard. Just tell us as a group what is to be accomplished and when it's to be completed. That's all. Go back to the wardroom or go to a meeting or what have you.

Sir, just delegate God Dammit! Then leave the rest up to the CHIEF to tell us how, why and what we are to do in plain & simple detail. That is his billet in life. Well that, and to walk up behind us with a cup of coffee in hand and inquire, "Boy, what the fuck are you doing now!!??

I make it sound like I hate officers. I don't. It's just easier for most of us to be governed by the Chief and LPO when it comes time to stop talking and get the job done.

MT2 WidgetHead

4/19/2009 12:54 AM

 
Blogger DDM said...

If your XO needs to delegate work to other than the YN LCPO or a JO working on a special project then your chain of command is broken. The XO should not have a PMS schedule or ESL to track (except maybe the MDR's to sign as DH). The XO should be making sure everybody stays on track with the ship's mission and making sure training standards are being maintained (Via the COB and DHs). Above all, he should not be a black hole for admin which many are, unfortunately. He should, of course, also do whatever the CO requires.

4/20/2009 3:20 AM

 
Blogger Curtis said...

It's almost a different world!
What is an ELT?
Why do the CPOs seem resentful of the fact that the XO, and by extension the DH's take them for granted as the bedrock of the Navy? It's kind of like breathing guys, one gets to the point where one just expects the air to be there. Are our sub driving compadres ignoring and blowing off their CPOs? Is this a CPO quality deficiency or do these fellows suffer from my rule #1? Trust nobody. You don't actually tell anybody that you just act on it.
I thought sub guys were totally into QA. In my line of business (once upon a time, surface engineering) I had a simple philosophy. I delegated everything and performed QA. I measured actual performance/sailor to expected performance/sailor. I discussed the delta with the LPOs and the Chiefs. I called every sailor in every quarter for a chat and showed them their performance eval based on progress to date and asked if they didn't think they could do better now that I had pointed out the expected standards I required them to meet. (FDNF navy unaccompanied gave us a lot of leeway in getting to know and grow ourselves). I was extremely lucky as the Auxo to have the 3 best CPOs on the ship. The best ENC, MRC and MMC I ever had the chance to work with. I was one of two line officers in the Engineering Department. The rest were LDO, CWO, BTCS, MMCS.
We didn't have any bitter enders and we still had the authority to take that 10% who were 90% of the problem and arbitrarily send them home and kick them out of the navy just for being "problem magnets." We generally ran about 60% manning and steamed 365 of the 369 days I was onboard.
I'm not sure what the XO did although he did it great in my humble opinion. He was in the QA chain on any paperwork I submitted to the skipper and helped out tremendously and he armed himself everyday with his 3 cell dirt gun and inspected the ship's berthing and all other areas that had an impact of QOL. I may be biased since he also dismissed the charges at XOI each time the 1st LT wrote me up for some idiotic reason.
The only thing I ever saw on the desk of the XO and CO were pictures of their wives and kids. It was fun. Both had inboxes on their desks but that was for what the yeoman brought. Anything that was handcarried in to them was acted on with dispatch and generally was initialed and hand carried out within 5 minutes. As I got more senior and served on major staffs I missed that more and more.

4/22/2009 5:41 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response:

What is an ELT?Engineering Laboratory Technician.
The guy who makes sure the water chemisty and personnel dosimetry are within standards - just one part of the nuclear Navy.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090216131059AAuqYiB if you want more info.

Why do the CPOs seem resentful of the fact that the XO, and by extension the DH's take them for granted as the bedrock of the Navy? That's just it, not many of them seem to really get it any more. My favorite department heads over my career completely understood the role of the Chief. I still sorely miss my last DH, who was awesome.

Are our sub driving compadres ignoring and blowing off their CPOs? Frequently & with alarming regularity. Or you get the "Yes Chief I understand, BUT..." which ends up equating to getting blown off to do what they wanted in the first place as if nothing had been said in opposition.

Is this a CPO quality deficiency or do these fellows suffer from my rule #1? Honestly, some of both in my opinion.

STSC

4/23/2009 1:05 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

What is an ELT?I thought this was a submarine board....

Let me tell you-- ELT's run the ship. They can drive, steer, ballast, bump rods, shift pumps, add chemicals, start the diesel, run sonar, load & fire a torpedo, decode messages in radio, and troubleshoot electrostatic precipitators. ELT's are also an integral part of the fire control system on a submarine, and sometimes are the only line of defense against a rouge captain who might want to go to 1SQ for strategic missile launch ala Crimson Tide. That thing on the submarine schedule that says "CO Discretionary time", that really means checking with the ELT's to see if they want a swim call.

In case you didn't know, all ELT's who stay in the Navy for 20 years are automatically frocked to Vice Admiral. And the job is so great, that it's practically impossible to get into because they all stay in the Navy for 50 years. You've probably run into several ELT's and didn't know it-- they're more covert secret about it than a CIA/DIA officer.

The first ever ELT was Admiral Rickover. He designed and qualified as ELT on the Nautilus and at Shippingport NGS.

[Sorry, there hasn't been a new post on the EM-Log for some time, so I got a little sarcastic].

4/23/2009 6:58 AM

 
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6/26/2012 4:24 AM

 

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