Zeroing in on Excellence: Part 1

This is the first of four blogs by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens. In these blogs he will be discussing his detailed thoughts on three key areas and begin to actively associate them with ways we can functionally support the CNO’s Sailing Directions.


At our Leadership Mess Symposium in September, I mentioned that my refrain as MCPON will be Zeroing in on Excellence.  For me, that is about solidifying our lines of operation with three fundamental focus areas:

  • Developing Leaders
  • Good Order and Discipline
  • Controlling What We Own

Zeroing in on Excellence is a universal theme we can all apply in our respective positions.  It does not distract from or add to existing individual roles and responsibilities – it provides a sturdy framework around which we can build sound, durable readiness.  Each of you has your own professional obligations, and your sustained success in meeting them is a large reason our Navy is the world’s preeminent maritime force.  I simply ask that as you carry out the business of leading Sailors, you do so not only with energy aimed at accomplishing a stand-alone task but also at building an environment where our entire organization gets stronger.

I believe developing leaders, fostering good order and discipline and controlling what we own help us get precisely that type of environment, now and down the road.  These are not single actions; they are deliberate mindsets that permeate our processes and procedures.  Each directly advances the CNO’s tenets of warfighting first, operating forward and being ready.  Each already falls within our assigned swim lane, and can be a powerful engine of influence if it becomes a heightened part of our consciousness.

I’ve said before that together, pulling methodically on the same line, our Navy CPO Mess has the credibility and fortitude to effect sea change.  If we grab Zeroing in on Excellence and maintain a steady strain on the ideas it entails, we will have a positive impact on readiness and get after some of the issues tainting our Navy, including sexual assault, suicide, domestic violence and alcohol/drug abuse. I need your leadership and support to make it work.  Please begin the Zeroing in on Excellence drumbeat in your AOR and consider ways we can make it most effective.  I welcome your thoughts.  Thank you.

Mike Stevens
MCPON