Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens joined the Navy in 1983 and rose through the ranks to become the most senior enlisted person making well versed on leading. MCPON talks to Navy leadership about leadership. In this final blog of a four part series looks at how the top leader of the enlisted community of the Navy teaches and mentors his fellow khaki community.
Very few things have a greater impact on warfighting readiness and our ability to accomplish mission than Good Order & Discipline. Good Order & Discipline is something difficult to define but easy to sense. To me, it is about establishing, sustaining and enforcing professional standards that set the condition for individual and unit success. Anything that interferes with or detracts from those conditions is contrary to Good Order & Discipline.
By-and-large we are doing a solid job in this area, but I also believe there is an opportunity for us to “kick it up a notch.” We know that when a CPO Mess is firing on all cylinders and leading by example, the entire command will respond in kind. I believe with all my heart that many of the challenges we face such as sexual assault, domestic violence and drug/alcohol abuse, are symptoms of a larger disease. This disease is often the fundamental breakdown or conspicuous absence of Good Order & Discipline.
I have come to fully respect and understand that when Chief Petty Officers decide to get after an issue together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Chiefs, our Navy and our Sailors need us to get after an issue. The issue is Good Order & Discipline. Chief Petty Officers … I repeat Chief Petty Officers … OWN Good Order & Discipline, and we MUST ensure that we are providing the leadership our Sailors expected the day they joined the Navy. If we don’t, how can we expect others to?
Recently, I requested that members of my Leadership Mess query their own Messes to identify the top three areas where our Navy CPO community can make a positive, immediate impact Good Order & Discipline. After reviewing hundreds of responses, it became overwhelmingly clear that four areas stand out above all others:
*Leadership through personal example;
*Accountability commensurate with responsibility;
*Clear, unambiguous and personal communication throughout the chain of command; and
*Excellence in the things we have rather than continuously inventing new solutions
Based on the Fleet feedback, it is my charge to every Chief Petty Officer to take full ownership of Good Order & Discipline and in a constructive approach, better set the conditions for success. We will do this first and foremost through personal example and integrity in our own actions. Our fundamental standard is to work hard, stay out of trouble and be good and decent people.