Sunday, August 1, 2010

Because All Goals Require a Team Effort...

In my last post, I made mention of the fact that I am in the process of meeting individually with each of the 150+ members of our team to discuss their personal goals, among other things. Given the high caliber of person the Navy continues to attract and the fact that Cryptologic Technicians are far above even the average Sailor (barriers to entry in the form of ASVAB scores and in-depth background investigations mandate such a distinction), I am not the least bit surprised by the variance in, specificity of, and effort being applied to both their individual and team goals. Though we talk of many things, one thing that is purposely not part of the conversation is my goals. That said, goals cannot be accomplished if we do not share them with those who can and want to help us to accomplish them, so here it goes...

I have numerous goals in life and have been fortunate enough to accomplish many of them, though even more allude me. What I have noticed repeatedly is that the accomplishment of one goal results in the addition of a few sequentially related goals. Obtaining the position of Commanding Officer in our Navy has been a goal for quite some time and now that numerous people have helped me to achieve that goal, I find that my goal sheet is more populated than ever. As I look at the list, I can sort my short term professional goals into three categories...

1) Become the Commanding Officer the Sailors at NIOC Pensacola deserve
- Seniors, peers and juniors alike (most prominently Chief Petty Officers) have helped me to develop many of the tools necessary to be the leader I want to become. I recognize the Sailors at NIOC Pensacola are more deserving of what I am delivering today. Each and every day I strive to become the leader worthy of the platform to which I am fortunate enough to be assigned.

2) Help a command full of leaders to grow into a command that leads
- Like many places of business, OUR command is full of great leaders/followers, Sailors, technicians, operators, teachers, etc. But, because of our command make-up (size and experiential diversity), entrepreneurial culture, and complete control over our collective focus (i.e. We are not force providers, but accountable for the direct employment of our entire team), we are uniquely postured to lead beyond our command lifelines. We will grow into the team that contributes well beyond our assigned charter as we find and address areas in which we can add value to the larger effort.

3) Change the way Commanding Officers across the Information Dominance Corps approach command
- As with most businesses, commands have a specific mission, vision and set of values. Over time our commands have become more prone to operating in isolation and looking to Headquarters to synchronize our collective efforts. The following is from a letter I recently sent to all IDC Commanding Officers in hopes of us working toward more of a franchise model, where we realize we are collectively leveraging a single workforce toward a unified goal:

"...I am writing to seek your advice and assistance, as it is clear our fundamental goal is strengthening our collaborative IDC culture. Sharing high aspirations for our time together in command and complementary objectives for our collective Commanding Officer experience is important. Following the lead of some of the Navy’s best senior leaders, we see collaboration, synchronization and continual learning paying huge dividends. For example:

Self-Synchronization – We have much to learn from each other (particularly me from all of you) and there is no reason why we should wait for our ISICs to synchronize our efforts, define “Best Practices” or “Benchmarks” on our behalf or direct changes to our respective MF&T. Through professional networking and other collaboration tools, we can learn from each other on a regular basis. I am eager to begin the learning process and keep it going.

Exponential Learning – We must lead beyond our respective “cylinder of excellence” and demonstrate the requisite commitment to institutional innovation. By allowing individual expertise to extend beyond the walls (i.e. geography and MF&T) of our respective command, we enable our ability to collectively leverage the “Wisdom of the IDC Crowd” to meet, exceed and further shape/satisfy operational requirements."

Because we only have but 24 months together (and one is already in our wake), there is a sense of urgency. I firmly believe one and two are achievable, but three may prove to be a bit of a stretch given the timeline. But stretch goals are a tool to help focus our efforts as we strive for more. Though I hope we are successful, as we say at NIOC Pensacola "Fear of failure is not authorized!" We are who we are in large part because of our failures and must continue to acknowledge that any failure is but a temporary setback along our individual and collective learning curve to success.

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