Monday, September 14, 2015

Evening Reports

"Now, 1845 on deck. Lay before the mast all evening reports. Department representatives muster in the wardroom."

Every evening, though not always at 1845 if we have something else going on, each Department Head that isn't on watch, and the next senior individual if they are, the Command Chief, Chief Master at Arms (CMAA), CO and I all gather in the wardroom for Evening Reports.

I start by asking each Department Head if all their members are present -- accountability checks are important to make sure we haven't lost someone overboard in the dark of the night and don't know about it for days on end. Once or twice we've had to make an extra phone call to track down someone who was in hibernation for whatever reason. And when I stop to think about what I'm doing when I ask if everyone is here, I get the shivers pondering what would happen if the answer was ever "no."

Then we go through the next day's POD (Plan of the Day). I got smart last patrol and put together a weekly template: Mon/Wed/Fri mornings are BECCEs, Tues/Thurs mornings are professional development time, etc. We have a ton of things going on each day, it's hard for me to keep them all straight -- especially when I'm barely aware of what day of the week it is from day to day. Days blend and blur together underway. It's very helpful to go through the next day with all of the Department Heads present because invariably we find something that gets deconflicted during the discussion. BECCEs will start 15 minutes later so we can get the small boat launched for small boat training. Or OPS needs to do gun mount PQS, and can we move Divine Services (on Sunday) to later in the day? And there are the occasional drop-ins...a Morale meeting, Suicide Prevention Awareness training, AVSTAN training, and FY16 goal planning are all on this week's sticky note in my calendar.

After the POD is finalized for the next day, I refer to a little sticky note (I live and die by sticky notes in my calendar book) that has miniscule sections for each of the Department Heads, Command Chief and CMAA -- things that I remember throughout the day that I need to ask them about, remind them about, nag them about, or need updates for. And at the bottom of the sticky note are things which need input from the majority or all of them.

Then we go around the table to see if any of them have stuff to talk about with the group or each other. Again, trying to deconflict and work together as much as possible.

Once we're all done with that, I ask the CO if he has anything for the group. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. My challenge/job is to ask about everything on his list before he has a need to. Some days I can do that, but not very often.

If we're really cranking through stuff, Evening Reports can be as short as 15 minutes. But more usually, we degenerate into hilarity over some trifle or another, or spin off on a tangential discussion that is great and useful, but tends to generate more work for everyone instead of simplifying things. And more nights than not, a few of us end up hanging out in the wardroom telling sea stories and getting riled up at administrivia for upwards of 45 minutes to an hour. Or more.


At some point, I remember I still have a POD to publish, and I leave to get that done. I try to get the next day's POD out by 2000-ish. Heavy on the "-ish" sometimes.

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