USA: Master Chief Petty Officer of Navy Releases Zeroing in on Excellence Initiative

Master Chief Petty Officer of Navy Releases Zeroing in on Excellence Initiative

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(AW/NAC) Mike D. Stevens released his ‘Zeroing in on Excellence’ initiative in the form of four letters to the Navy Chiefs’ Mess Nov. 6.

The ‘Zeroing in on Excellence’ initiative consists of three focus areas: developing leaders, good order and discipline, and controlling what we own.

“Zeroing in on Excellence is a universal theme we can all apply in our respective positions,” said Stevens. “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.”

In his letters, MCPON clearly and concisely outlined his thoughts on the overarching theme of ‘Zeroing in on Excellence’ and how each of the three focus areas help create an environment where the Navy 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,” said Stevens. “These are not single actions; they are deliberate mindsets that permeate our processes and procedures.”

MCPON stated that his focus points could be powerful engines of influence, but assured the Mess it is their commitment to this vision that would help the ideas within it “become a heightened part of our consciousness.”

“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,” said Stevens.

In MCPON’s letter on ‘Zeroing in on Excellence: Developing Leaders’, he discussed the importance of developing leaders through a combination of mentorship, practical experience and training.

“Without competent leadership, even the most routine tasks can become difficult,” said Stevens. “If our Navy is going to continue climbing, then we as chief petty officers must always seek to increase our and our Sailors’ ability to lead.”

MCPON talked about the solid inventory of quality leadership training available to the enlisted community and how that combined with routine, daily, personal interaction will foster the kind of leadership that is necessary to ensure our Navy’s continued success.

MCPON’s letter, ‘Zeroing in on Excellence: Good Order and Discipline’, focused on the impact Good Order and Discipline has on warfighting, readiness and mission accomplishment.

“To me, it [good order and discipline] is about establishing, sustaining and enforcing professional standards that set the condition for individual and unit success,” said Stevens. “Anything that interferes with or detracts from those conditions is contrary to Good Order and Discipline.”

MCPON stated that by-and-large he believes we are doing well in this area, but there is always room for improvement. He emphasized chief petty officers own good order and discipline and every CPO, first and foremost, must set the conditions through personal example and integrity in their own actions. In September, he approached his Leadership Mess, a group of fleet, force and command master chiefs, asking them to speak with their Messes and help pinpoint top areas where the CPO community could make positive and immediate impacts on good order and discipline.

“After reviewing hundreds of responses, it became overwhelmingly clear that four areas stand out above all others,” said Stevens. “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.”

Discussing distractions beyond our control, MCPON outlined the concept of control and influence within our own sphere in his letter, ‘Zeroing in on Excellence: Controlling What We Own.’

“There are many things that you and I do own and control, including good order and discipline, technical training, maintenance/administrative production, and the execution of orders,” said Stevens. “We also have the ability to control much of our own lives by becoming and remaining physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually sound.”

MCPON’s ‘Zeroing in on Excellence’ letters lay the framework for individual Chiefs’ Messes and commands to work within, allowing them to take his guidance and determine how to best employ the initiative to their specific commands and messes in order to functionally and effectively support CNO’s Sailing Directions, build an environment where our entire Navy gets stronger, and follow the fundamental standard to work hard, stay out of trouble and be good and decent people.

Naval Today Staff,November 8, 2012; Image: US Navy