Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Communicating in Two Directions

I had an opportunity to read "Mind the Gaps," an article in this month's Proceedings Magazine by ADM Gortney and ADM Harris1 .

The article focused on the Readiness Kill Chain, basically noting that it's time to break down the barriers that grown up over time that have resulted in gaps in readiness.  I believe this topic is important because it speaks to an essential role of the officer profession, making our processes better to realize more effective warfighting. I also believe it provides an opportunity to focus on communication, both up and down the chain of command.

Sometimes, with so many years in tactical level units, it becomes hard to break away from that mindset and to start taking a look at systemic issues from a broader perspective.  I would argue that taking the time to do that periodically as you progress through your career is helpful in making sure you are providing inputs that can eventually be woven into wholesale fleet improvements.  

In reality, we all have two ways in which we need to communicate.  First up the chain, making sure that what we are seeing at our level is well documented and communicated.  Second, down the chain to our junior personnel.  While this would be a fairly complex topic to discuss with junior sailors, I believe there is always value in being able to explain to junior personnel why the job, and especially the paperwork, documentation, etc. is important in the grander scheme.  Making them feel as if they are part of the fight, not only for the ship or unit they are in, but for the squadron and community as a whole is vitally important to building that deep seed of motivation and pride in their work.

If you haven't had the chance to read the article, I recommend it.  You may be far from a Type Commander that is worrying about readiness daily, but how, at your level, are you making their job easier and simultaneously your personnel's job more meaningful?