Thursday, June 25, 2009

Command Philosophy

As a Commanding Officer, I'm required to have a Command Philosophy. I'm not a very introspective person by nature, so this was a good, but challenging exercise in putting my perspective into words.

I've used it for a year so far, and didn't change it much for this command experience. One of the best compliments I received from a shipmate (thanks, J Hart!) was that he appreciated that I stuck to it and related a lot of what went on back to it.

Here it is...
My philosophy
…is that life is a journey, not a destination. I joined the Coast Guard to perform great and worthy, heroic and patriotic duties, for the sea stories I get to tell my family and friends, and to experience things that not many other people get to do. I plan to get the most out of even the little things, like sunrises and sunsets, a job well done and good food at the end of a long day (or night).
…is that a job worth doing is worth doing to the best of my ability. At the end of my tour, I intend to look back and be able to honestly tell myself that I faced every task and challenge to the best of my ability. This is the only way the sacrifices I have made will have been worthwhile.

Guidance and expectations
• Professionalism and the mission: Each of us volunteered for this assignment. We are here for one reason – the mission…to get it done as thoroughly and efficiently as possible. In completing the mission, we must remember that we serve our great nation as part of the finest sea-going service in the world. Your actions reflect back on our ship, our service and our country. Your individual ability to be a professional directly contributes to the ship’s ability to successfully accomplish the mission. I expect that you will always contribute in a positive manner, on and off duty.
• Safety and training: We work in an inherently hazardous environment. Constant training is fundamental to knowing the proper initial actions in any emergent situation. We will train the way we fight, with enthusiasm and dedication to the safety of our ship, our shipmates and ourselves. And always, always, speak up if you see a shipmate or the ship headed for “shoal water.”
• Respect and communication: Mutual respect for each other, as individuals and as professionals, is critical in our close and chaotic environment. We all have different experiences that allow us our own unique perspectives; none is wrong and each is valid. Respect each other enough to listen to one another. Effective communication consists of both speaking and listening, which is often harder than it sounds. Take the time to listen to what your shipmate has to say to you, rather than hearing what you think they should be telling you. You may find that most conflicts are resolved with less heartache when people simply listen to each other.

My commitment to you, my shipmates
• To do my best to keep you safe, through constant training and decision-making based on thorough and informed risk analysis
• To recognize and honor our collective mission accomplishments and your professionalism, technical expertise and personal achievements
• To communicate as openly as possible with you, while balancing mission restrictions and privacy interests
• To be fair and respect each shipmate as an individual with a unique perspective
• To openly accept feedback, positive or negative, in the spirit with which it was offered, incorporating workable suggestions into standard practices

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I, too, am in the process of having the honor of commanding a Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC MATINICUS). I am at PCO school right now and working on my Command Philosophy. Your CP really opened my eyes as to format and how to open yourself up to the crew and set standards. Thanks for posting this and I hope you don't mind if I follow your format. Good luck in your career and enjoy grad school!