Does Anybody Bother to Read the Thing?
Admiral Jonathan Greenert recently took over as chief of naval operations on September 23rd. Immediately thereafter he released his "sailing directions" for the Navy. I encourage you to go read this document (it's short). It's kind of like a mission statement, vision statement, or whatever other kind of touchy-feely management tool that people like to spend time writing so it can be put in a frame and ignored forevermore. The difference is that this one is plainly written, says something meaningful, and is formatted so as to actually be useful.
Have you ever seen one of these management tools that is actionable? And, if so, one that is actually used? I would venture to say they're almost always a pro forma attempt at management guidance that really has no bearing on the troops in the field. We could use a different kind of statement, one that is written in plain language (as opposed to management jargon du jour), is actionable, means something, and is actually used in decision making. Admiral Greenert has offered what looks like something that fits that bill for his organization.
I think this would be useful in a fire department. The chief can use it to let people know what his expectations are, the organization can use it as guidance in setting short-term priorities, and individual members can use it for modeling purposes. The document can be an opportunity to set or reset norms for our whole organization. If you were the chief, what would you write? Under guiding principles, is emergency response your primary mission or is prevention or even something else? Does your list mean anything to the guys in the field? Can it be understood at every level? This is a good daydreaming exercise for those who wonder what they'd do if they were chief.
………. Patrick Mahoney
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Also on FireGeezer…
- Let’s Talk About the “Crucible of Fire” – a Commentary – July 25, 2012
- Should Fire Training Be Banned? a commentary – April 22, 2013