Message to NNOA President & Members:
My father’s words to me at my OCS graduation were simple, yet impactful – “before honor comes humility”. They remain stenciled in my heart to this day, and have guided every aspect of my progress in the Coast Guard. My journey has only been possible because of the sacrifice of those who came before me, and those who framed the path of this road which so many others now travel. Distinguished service members also made time to provide counsel and to extend a needed hand as I sought to advance. Minus that help, my journey would not have started, and for it, I am eternally grateful. It is the highest honor and obligation to return that courtesy, as I hope my shared thoughts and lessons add some value to the journey of other leaders.
My philosophy, which I refer to as the Iron Trinity (or The 3-P), centers on the principles of People, Pride, & Professionalism. It reflects the character & resolve expected of each member of the TEAM and my commitment to their success.
- People. Everything begins and ends with your people. Ships, computers, high tech gear, and ordnance are all tools of the craft. The mission, however, doesn’t get accomplished without well-trained, innovative, and highly motivated personnel! Take care of your people and posture them to succeed in their duties. Equally important, demonstrate the capacity to show interest in their life and activities beyond “the front gate”.
- Pride. Stand tall knowing you represent your Family, your Country, and your Crew. Conduct yourself in a manner which honors each group. Be “impeccable” with your word and speak with confidence. Others will notice & emulate.
- Professionalism. Commit, on a daily basis, to improving yourself & the knowledge of your craft. Be excellent in all that you do! Elevate your technical expertise & Leadership IQ to stay ahead of an ever-evolving mission. Expand your foundational knowledge to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.
Words of Wisdom
You know you are “in the fight” and making progress when you have at least 3 humbling moments per week. In my 28 years of Enlisted & Commissioned service, I have routinely hit or surpassed the “3” mark on any given Monday morning before 0900. Stay in the fight, persevere and share the wisdom. I offer the following:
- Know your mission, train to achieve the best outcomes, and “get after it”!!;
- Always expect more of yourself….this journey isn’t for the average;
- Everybody must be accountable for her/his actions….Seniority isn’t a valid exemption;
- Redemption and reconciliation must be factored into the discipline and accountability process;
- Improve or regress, there’s no such thing as “remain the same;
- Know your people, what they value, and how to maximize their strengths;
- Respect your personnel’s time and they will value yours…..it is a finite commodity;
- Feedback is the “glittering prize”: be bold enough to give it, and wise enough to receive/digest it;
- Be teachable, and know that wisdom may come from the most junior member on staff;
- The key ingredient to “success” is the rest of the TEAM. Everybody has something to offer;
- Empower your leaders & give them space to “own” their work; Don’t fail at your job, trying to do theirs;
- Develop your TEAM to notice & consider the little details (they have to know your expectation);
- Know when your role shifts from being a “Rockstar” to a “Superstar”, and understand the difference;
- Maintain an even keel. Your team can’t be afraid to bring you bad news. Emotional intelligence matters;
- Bring others along for the ride. Nobody does it on their own & it’s not all about “you”!;
- Give junior personnel opportunities to lead, and “tell the story” of your organization;
- Listening is a valuable skill, and one of your best tools….use it wisely; and finally
- Enthusiasm is blissfully contagious….it starts with LEADERSHIP!!