Saturday, June 29, 2013

You are the command

It's not uncommon for sailors to complain to me about my command. Typically, it concerns lost admin, or messed up qualifications, or awards being downgraded. What's funny is that when I take those conversations seriously and try to find ways to fix it, these same sailors are quick to point out that it's not my fault, it's the command's problem.

Which begs the question: who is the command?

Is the command the CO?

No, they said, they like the CO. He's down to earth, fair, and a nice guy.

Is it the XO?

No, they said.

Is it me?

No, they said.

We continued on this line of questioning until I realized that sailors can't nail down WHO the command is, but the COMMAND is definitely to blame.

I can never let that sit though. I am the command. I'm not the CO or XO, but I am in the chain of command. So I am not happy when there is an admin routing problem. I am not happy when our qualification program is messed up. I am not happy when awards are lost or messed up.

Because of that, I end up taking ownership of multiple problems and seeing them to completion. I fix a lot of things, despite being outside my purview.

Sure, you can sit back and blame "the command" for your problems, but does it do you any good? Does it solve those problems? Does it help your sailors?

I doubt it. Complaining makes you feel good, but doesn't help anyone else. And when you're a Naval Officer, it's no longer about you. That's the meaning of service and sacrifice.

Next time you want to blame the command for something, look in the mirror and do it, and perhaps instead you'll buck up and do what you can to solve the problem.