Based upon a presentation given to the Engineering Duty Officers School, April 2002.
The military, more than any other profession, looks toward leadership as the most powerful key for opening the door to success. History gives us many examples of strong military leadership. Examples that span the time from before the written word all the way through the conflicts of today. In ancient times, Alexander the Great inspired both the conquerors and those whom his armies conquered. In our grandparents’ time, Winston Churchill’s inspirational leadership helped win the Battle of Britain. Later, our parents admired Marine Corps General Chesty Puller’s superb leadership as he pulled victories from extremis during the Korean War. And now, in our time, I ask you to think about the Navy officer who has had the most significant impact upon you personally. I bet you will say the trait you most admire in that individual was the person’s ability to inspire and lead others-lead others, as you would like to lead those who work for you.
As one whose experience precedes yours, I cannot bestow leadership on you. Nor can I teach you how to become a leader. That, you have to achieve on your own. But, I can give you some ideas, some direction and point out some traits, challenges and leadership examples that will help you reach down into yourselves so that you can pull up your own, innate leadership abilities. So, you too can develop the leadership qualities that will be your personal key to success and continuing future growth.
The Leadership Triangle
Leadership skills must be consciously honed and continuously used. To do this well, leaders have to understand the difference between good leadership and good management. You need to recognize these differences because developing skills in one area will not automatically lead to the development of skills in the other. Moreover, leaders need to develop both skill sets throughout their Navy career.
The first concept that I want you to understand is this: good leaders are successful and good managers merely achieve success. Being successful and achieving success are not the same thing. Being successful evokes a sense of self-fulfillment. Achieving success marks the accomplishment of someone else’s sense of self-fulfillment.
To be a good leader or to be a good manager are both lofty goals. Unfortunately, too often, the leadership pan of this balanced equation becomes hazy and unfocused. Do not let that happen to you. Understand the differences between leadership and management and you will be better able to keep your focus on being a good leader while also being a good manager.
Leaders step out front and grab the reins, they guide some, they direct others, and sometimes they just pull others along. A leader’s mind develops a vision. This is much different that the manager whose mind focuses on implementing someone else’s vision. A leader’s eyes are always fixed on a goal. Too often, the manager’s eyes are fixed on the process. The leader’s heart produces a lusting desire to exceed even the leader’s own expectations, whereas the manager’s heart hopes to meet another’s expectation. Granted, the manager hopes to perform better than others challenged to meet those similar expectations, but that goal is not enough for the leader. And, while a leader’s soul is his or her work, the manager’s soul draws its strength from the process-Management by Objective, or whatever is the current business school philosophy.
To be a leader, three things are needed. These are an ability to create a vision, the skill to inspire others, and a desire to realize the thrill of solving seemingly impossible problems. Like the Fire Triangle we all studied during damage control training, I want you to think of these three skills as being the three legs of my Leader-ship Triangle: develop vision; inspire others; and resolve problems -all three legs of which are necessary to be a good leader.
Be a Visionary
The first leg in my Leadership Triangle is Vision. Leaders are visionaries. They develop their vision by dreaming, by using their imagination, by developing a thorough knowledge base, and by seeking the wisdom of others.
A true vision is futuristic. It is farsighted. To help you understand how a true vision is futuristic, examine a couple of visions and then assess why they were originally important and how they are relevant today.
- My first vision is the American TURTLE, David Bushnell’s vision. Bushnell drew his design for this early submersible concept presented by William Bourne, a British mathematician, in 1578. TURTLE was successfully launched in 1776 as the first truly submersible craft. Bushnell’s vision preceded two other innovative visions, HUNLEY and HOLLAND, by 88 and 122 years.
- Another submarine vision comes from the author Jules Verne. His vision, presented in his classic book 20.()()Q Leagues Under the Sea, introduced the submarine both as a scientific research platform and as a naval warfare weapon. His book was published 65 years before submarines earned their battlestars as effective weapon platforms during World War I.
- John Holland is considered the visionary Father of our U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force. The U.S. Submarine Force began with the commissioning of USS HOLLAND shortly after we entered the 20th century. John Holland’s submarine was small, underpowered, and could not operate in the open sea-but HOLLAND was the first U.S. submarine.
- Admiral Rickover’s vision was to prolong the undersea operational endurance of the submarine. His vision was to develop the submarine as an undersea weapons platform and not just a weapons platform that spent some of its time under the sea.
Each of these visions built upon and then moved beyond the previous vision. Something that leaders do consciously or subconsciously to achieve success. David Bushnell’s vision imagined the existence of a submersible. Jules Verne saw missions submarines would eventually perform. John Holland established a new maritime force, the U.S. Submarine Force. And, Admiral Rickover expanded the capability of the submarine platform so that it could more efficiently perform its warfighting missions. In other words, each vision was revolutionary. Each vision moved submarine development and submarine technology in a different yet advancing direction. And, each vision was significantly more complex than its predecessor.
My Submarine Technology (SUBTECH) vision expands submarine development to achieve the total inclusion of future submarines as participants in the complete maritime warfare theater of operations. It presents a vision that includes the insertion of technologies that provide for the gaining and sustaining of battle force access, the insertion of technologies that develop and share knowledge, the insertion of technologies that project power with surprise from close-in, and the insertion of technologies that deter and counter weapons of mass destruction. To do this, the SUB-TECH vision moves us outside of the submarine hull. It seeks off-board and onboard solutions to create enhanced battle force interoperability and war fighting capabilities.
Most of you at the Navy’s Engineering Duty Officers School have been focusing on near-sighted visions dictated by your previous assignments. These visions were not yours. They were someone else’s vision presented to you so that you could develop the skills needed for the accomplishment of your required tasks. After you leave this school, you will have the opportunity to become involved in developing your own far-sighted visions. You will still have the choice to focus your efforts on near-sighted visions as you have done in the past-or, you may choose to readjust your focus toward developing the ability for far-sightedness. In either case, you will be successful-at least initially. However, if you choose the comfortable, near-sighted pathway, you will limit your potential. This will assuredly cause you to evolve into becoming more the manager and less the leader So, how is a leader’s far-sighted vision developed? It’s not really that hard, and there is a lot of help available along the way. Basically, all a leader has to do is develop an understanding of what has gone on before arriving on the scene; analyze what has happened, why it has happened, and think creatively about how it may be done better; project into the future to see where a divergence between the two visions occurs; and then arm himself or herself to do battle.
Understanding the past requires the leader to become familiar with the vision of previous leaders. This is usually fairly easy, as that vision is normally provided when the leader first takes over a new job. Becoming familiar with the old challenges and the old solutions is likewise fairly simple. Once again, it is normally part of the turnover process. Regardless, no matter how well problems have been defined in the past, a leader redefines the problems in personal terms and then independently develops personal solutions.
Redefining challenges and reinventing solutions may sound difficult, but it is not. The leader looks at challenges as if they were being addressed for the first time. This helps the leader confront the challenges from a fresh perspective. This phase of practicing leadership is when the visionary’s imagination, knowledge developed through education and professional experience, along with the visionary’s talent as a dreamer become important. These qualities of the visionary, coupled with the wisdom of others who present fresh ideas, should provide an alternative definition of the challenges, as well as insight to innovative approaches for achieving solutions to those challenges. But, good leaders don’t stop there and think they are done. Leaders know they must compare the old with the new. They recognize that the combination of the two is probably more likely the proper baseline of where they are, so they can then determine where they need to go, and how they can get there.
After developing their baseline perspective on where they arc, leaders next determine where they want to go, and how they can get there. To do this, leaders project themselves into the future. Once again, the visionary’s imagination and ability to dream of what could be guides their direction. When leaders project their minds into the future, visionaries will identify an idealized image of the future, way points through which they can progress to reach that idealized image, problem, that may surface in the path toward their ideal image, and detours or workarounds that resolve projected stumbling blocks. Then, all that is left for the leader to do is to establish some telltale warnings to alert the leader to the need for redirection, and to prepare some preliminary responses that will reduce the risks should those stumbling blocks surface.
The leader must know the Big Picture. The Big Picture paints the landscape of the past and prepares the leader so the current new vision can emerge. This understanding is critical when the leader is developing strategic concepts.
After gaining an understanding of the Big Picture, the leader redefines challenges and refines independent solutions. This redefinition springs from current challenges and solutions. More importantly, it solicits new ideas from key players-readjusting accordingly-to provide the guidance and framework that channels everyone’s attention and thoughts toward a new common vision and a new pathway that will be followed to reach the emerging future vision.
Until the leader reaches the pinnacle position in his or her profession, the leader’s vision must flow from the more senior leaders. The Navy’s mission statement for the 21st century is to “Directly and decisively influence events on land anywhere and anytime”. The Chief of Naval Operations strategy for implementing this mission includes the four pillars of net centric operations-Knowledge, Access, Speed, and Sea Basing. All of which combine to create the baseline from which our Submarine Force visions spring.
As tomorrow’s leaders, you will be called upon to develop our future strategic concepts. Probably, you will only become involved in one of these areas during your next assignment. In time, you will assuredly be required to develop visions for each of these strategic areas. Therefore, tomorrow and in the years to come, involve others in your thought process and leverage off other studies at all program levels. If you find yourself alone without others, stimulating your thoughts; or if you find that your predecessor has not discovered related problem studies, establish those linkages as one of your first priorities.
If your background and training result in your future assignment to submarine and undersea technology development, here are some of the visionary strategic concepts and guidance from which you can draw. Many organizations and study groups have contributed valuable inputs forward the conceptualization of the Naval Sea Systems Command SUBTECH vision.
The Defense Science Board projected the next generation of submarines in 2020 to be large, nuclear powered and with a concentrated effort on developing the front end technical capabilities. The Defense Science Board also called for improved on-station time and suggested DARPA and the Navy sponsor a combined effort to take a wide open look at the prospects for the future 2020 submarine. They also suggested this combined effort specifically investigate the enhancement of submarine undersea and information technology areas and the improvement of ship performance measurements.
The Submarine Future Studies Group (FSG) was chartered in 1998 to develop future concepts with the emphasis on revolutionary capability. It was designed to provide needed focus to industry, DARPA, ONR, and government laboratories to enable them to invest in the technologies that will provide military capability from under the sea-needed in the 2111 century. The strength in the FSG lies in its smallness, its closeness to Submarine Force leadership, and its ability to communicate these thoughts and ideas. As such, it develops future concept statements for the Submarine Force of the future, obtains a wide variety of opinions both from within and outside the submarine community, generates statements of future goals for submarine Research and Development R&D and Science and Technology (S&T), submits statements of future concepts and goals to the Submarine Force Flag Panel through NAVSEA for formal validation, provides validated statements to the Flag Chaired Integrated Program Team (FCIPT) and the acquisition community to guide long-term technology development and acquisition planning, and conducts studies and reviews as required to coordinate and leverage SUBTECH efforts.
The Alternative Future World Study established a team of senior submariners with significant operational experience, non-submariners who would provide us with a broad view of naval operations, and other independent reviewers. In the Alternative Future World Study, a top-down, capabilities-based approach was used. It considered political, economic, social and military factors, and it examined submarine tasks across future worlds.
The alternative worlds presented in this study are broad in context and were adopted by the National Defense Panel Worlds to circumscribe the vector of an unceasing future. The projected common challenges of.the alternative worlds in the 2020 time frame have five basic characteristics. Those characteristics are: a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the existence of geographical and physical access challenges; our primary adversaries will be quiet, long-endurance, coastal submarines; the competition for information advantage in cyberspace will proliferate; and submarines will predominantly operate in littoral areas.
Leaders in SUBTECH understand the Operational Forces are our customers. We know they are the knowledge base on what works and what is broken. We appreciate being included in discussions about their experiences of how easily or poorly submarines meet their current mission requirements. And, we are sensitive to the fact that the operational forces have their own vision on how current missions will evolve in the future.
Accordingly, the highest priority submarine tasks for 2020 build upon the existing capabilities of today’s Submarine Force. They represent the tasks in which submarines can provide a compelling contribution to joint and naval forces across the spectrum of operations and within the context of the Joint Strategic Concepts. Along with strategic deterrence and forward presence, typical high priority tasks of the submarine type commanders include: clandestine Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Targeting; Special Operations Force Deployment; Mine Reconnaissance; underwater environmental characterization; rapid attack against time-critical targets; attack against hard or deeply buried targets’ interdiction operations; and the suppression of enemy coastal defenses.
Future submarine strategic concepts, based upon the anticipated 21st century environment and the evolving naval maritime concept developed by those supporting groups and studies, are gaining and sustaining battleforce access, developing and sharing knowledge projecting power with surprise from close-in, and deterring conflict and countering weapons of mass destruction.
To gain and sustain battle force access, submarines leverage their enduring attributes of stealth, endurance, agility, and firepower to gain access and develop the conditions that will enable access for follow-on forces. In peacetime and during the transition to conflict, as the first arriving military asset, submarines can provide non-provocative presence in what might be termed politically denied areas. Or, if necessary, the submarine can be overt and while it’s there it can gain and gather information characterizing a theater of operations. Finally, as combat is engaged, submarines that operate in collaboration with other forces will be key elements of battle-force protection, aggressively seeking out adversary challenges, sending required warning, and eliminating threats. Throughout the spectrum of operations, submarines will employ the expanded reach of off board systems and vehicles as a force multiplier, further sustaining battleforce access.
Future submarines need greater capabilities to develop and share knowledge. Knowledge is the underpinning for battlespace awareness. Joint and naval forces harnessing revolutionary capabilities for information collection and processing will achieve an unprecedented visualization of the future battlespace, which will enable collaborative simultaneous efforts to solve the most complex battlespace problems. To do this, submarines need to have timely access to this knowledge. New onboard and distributed sensors and offboard vehicles are needed to vastly expand the submarine’s reach. New and improved system capabilities are needed to collect, synthesize, use, and share information and knowledge of the battlespace. This will enable submarines to become active nodes in the larger battleforce network.
Submarines provide the ideal platform to project power with surprise from close-in, complementing other power projection forces. They will attack from close to land and with relative invulnerability. During peacetime and the transition to conflict, submarines will execute deterrence through assured devastating response as we have for so many years. The submarine’s ability to surprise and attack from close-in, will provide a force multiplier and increase uncertainty in the mind of the potential adversary. With dramatically improved payload capabilities, including information, attack submarines will provide the Joint Force Commander with a wide range of power projection options. During combat, submarines will operate in areas not otherwise accessible to other members to the Joint Force, augmenting these forces by providing survivable, prompt, precision striking power. In particular, embarked Special Operating Forces, fielded with an array of equipment, will conduct clandestine direct action ashore against targets that demand their specialized capabilities and absolute surprise.
The final submarine Joint Strategic Concept is to deter conflict and counter weapons of mass destruction. The proliferation and potential use of weapons of mass destruction is considered to be the greatest threat to U.S. security in the future. The ability to deter and counter weapons of mass destruction enhances the security of our allies, and reduces the threat of the asymmetric employment of weapons of mass destruction against U.S. and Allied forces. In the face of proliferation and non-state employment of weapons of mass destruction, as components of Joint Forces, submarines will offer a clandestine solution to gathering information and executing attacks necessary to counter the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction. Submarines will deter with a credible and assured threat of devastating response should weapons of mass destruction be employed against the U.S. or its allies. But, submarines will also be key players in developing the knowledge of adversary efforts to develop and use weapons of mass destruction. This will allow the U.S. to counter, through exposure and sanctions against the offenders, as well as disrupt or compromise their capabilities for use of weapons of mass destruction. They could also attack to eliminate the capabilities fielded or in development.
Once the SUBTECH leader understands the Big Picture and has developed the future submarine strategic concepts, the SUBTECH leader creates a framework that provides the boundaries within which the SUBTECH vision can be expressed. At SUBTECH, we have created three revolutionary tactical thrusts to focus our vision and our energies. Those tactical thrusts that constitute our Strategic Concept Framework are to extend the submarine’s tactical horizon, to fully network with National and Theater command centers, and to provide the ability to reconfigure the submarine for changing and time-critical Joint force missions.
We see several major areas of technology that are important in this revolution. One of the most important is this whole idea of getting off board. We’re talking about sensors in the water, on the bottom, on the sea, on the surface, on the land, all off-hull, away from the submarine. And why do we do this? Because it gives us an order of magnitude more coverage in the Intelligence, Surveil-lance, Reconnaissance, and Targeting arena. It allows us to use sensors that are quite different from today.
Today, we talk about SIGINT and visual sensors, but for the future we also talk about acoustics, vibration sensors, and perhaps chemical and biological sensors for weapons of mass destruction. The concept of this sensor network is that it’s covert-it defeats enemy efforts of denial and deception against our satellites and against today’s other assets that they can see and avoid. Importantly we think in the future that it fits into targeting. The whole idea is that this sensor network can be used not only to provide information about what’s going on, but also to provide localization information for follow-on targeting either from ourselves or follow-on forces.
The next revolution is offboard vehicles. Offboard vehicles are the way we buy extended reach. Vehicles that swim, that fly, and that walk on the ground. Doing this covertly with a wide range of payloads enhances the stealth of the submarine. Submarines do not have to operate close to shore and at periscope depth in order to make these things possible. And when we need a man in the loop for high priority missions such as when you need a guy on the ground, we have the Advanced SEAL Delivery System and our SOF forces.
To make all this work, we need dramatic improvements in processing back on the submarine. The submarine needs to be able to monitor the networks we put in; it needs to react to the information that comes from them; it needs to move the sensors around when necessary to cover the right areas; and it needs to do this in near real-time. In this vision, we will have to react in seconds, and minutes, and provide the information back to follow-on forces.
Not all the processing will be done onboard, but enough processing will be done to send the relevant nuggets back to the follow-on forces. All of these things are also available to the follow-on forces when they arrive, particularly the ground sensor network.
Platform modularity is an important centerpiece of the future submarine. The payload modularity concept provides the ability to reconfigure submarines for changing, time-critical Joint Force missions. The concept is that the submarine itself would be made up of modules. When payload or sensor changes to one of these modules becomes required, instead of laying the ship up in a major overhaul, submarines could change out payload modules over-night-this is our goal.
Modularity increases adaptability to address emerging tasking in an uncertain future. It facilitates the incorporation of new technologies. It accommodates the development of sensor and payload technologies that are more rapid than the development of new submarine platform designs. It allows for upgrade of payload only designs rather than the construction of new platforms or modernization of existing ships. And, it can be tailored to the force tasking requirements to provide the right payload when and where needed.
All this comes together into a single vision. A vision that presents a new hull configuration, new onboard and offboard sensors, the deployment and employment of offboard vehicles, expanded communications connectivity between the battleforce and shorebased command centers, and the involvement of the submarine in a comprehensive battlefield environment that includes sea, air and land.
This second leg in my Leadership Triangle is Inspiration. Our best leaders inspire others to succeed when success is beyond their apparent grasp. Provide guidance, create challenge, develop competition, redirect when needed, recognize progress, and reward achievement. Unfortunately, too often these words are not practiced. Leaders do not forget any of them. Remember, good leaders consciously make the effon to guide, to challenge, to develop competition, to redirect, to recognize, and to reward. Remind yourself daily consciously to seek opponunities when you can apply these leadership attributes.
When leaders begin a new job, they become a member of an already existing team. Good leaders do not automatically accept the organization of this team as being the right recipe for success. Almost always, new members on a team bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the team that can make the team more effec-tive-to help the team progress one more step ahead. Funhermore, as a new member on the team, the leader often can see obstacles that have become accepted when in fact they can really be over-come. Sometimes to do this, the leader may need more help than is already in place, or the team’s new leader may need to reorga-nize it for more efficiency or to better direct its effectiveness. Once the leader’s new organization is in place, the new team leader’s next challenge will be to continuously motivate the team’s support structure so that those supporting elements do not fall victim to a common pitfall, sub-optimization of goals.
Good leaders stimulate support from other organizations so that it becomes easier for the leader’s team to achieve their goals. Finding sources of funds and other resources to suppon team projects is the best result the leader can achieve to stimulate his team. In today’s funding environment, and during even more conservative budget years, this skill may be essential. When the leader assumes the funding burden and is successful, team members are inspired and particularly motivated toward achieving success. This is because they have been relieved of having to deal with this tiresome, albeit necessary, burden.
Good leaders can motivate their people through a technique called self-speak, sometimes known as self-talk. This technique is derived from the concept that words define the image we carry of ourselves. It presupposes that much of the image we have of ourselves, and what we do, is regulated by our unconscious mind where words continue to impact on our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
This technique asks us to watch our language to notice which of our thoughts are positive and are working, and which thoughts are negative and working against you. Then, by changing our language, we can begin to change our thoughts and attitudes.
The use of positive self talk has been linked to the reduction of stress. Less stress, in tum, can effect other positive changes. A positive mental attitude and the development of optimistic thought patterns can harness the positive energy for the greater good of the leader, the leader’s team, and the eventual achievement of the leader’s vision.
Applying these concepts to the real world, look at my Navy Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) commands, and my NAVSEA and SUBTECH organizations. As NAVSEA ‘s Deputy Commander for Undersea Technology and the Commander of the Naval Undersea Warfare Centers, I lead several teams. The Advanced Submarine R&D Office researches and develops emerging techno-logies, and the Submarine Technology Integration Office transitions proven technologies into operational systems. In addition to these individual organizational units, my deputies, the Technical Director at NUWC and the Deputy for Undersea Technology at NA VSEA, manage additional specific programs such as the joint DARPA/-Navy Payloads and Sensors initiative.
Other NA VSEA codes also interact with and have an impact on the SUBTECH process. Some of these include NAVSEA ‘s Deputy Commander for Integrated Warfare Systems, the Program Execu-tive Officer for Submarines, and the Program Executive Officer for Mine and Undersea Warfare. Bringing them all together under the SUBTECH umbrella and the Flag Chaired IPT has been a critical leadership challenge and has resulted in a tremendous feeling of accomplishment as we develop open lines of communication and common goals.
To motivate, stimulate, and inspire all these players, the SUBTECH leadership must communicate a clear 2020 submarine vision, promote a dialogue between the fleet, acquisition managers and the various S&T and R&D communities, provide guidance and a path that implements the submarine vision, and develop a creditable best value investment strategy that provides funding results.
A clear 2020 submarine vision is communicated by SUBTECH leaders through the presentation of various relevant future concepts. To develop and express these future concepts clearly and in a manner that is meaningful, five attributes are important. Leaders must discriminate between ideas and concepts. Both need to be expressed, discussed, and evaluated to determine which brain-storming thoughts are appropriate. Unconstrained ideas are good to stimulate the imagination so that greater, higher-level concepts emerge.
Creative concepts should flow naturally from these nebulous ideas. None should be dismissed without open discussion in a collaborative, constructive environment. Remember, however, the consensus should set high objectives and be revolutionary. Evolutionary concepts are likely to set targets that fall far behind the leader’s footsteps. Revolutionary future concepts envision an order-or-magnitude impact. Leaders know it is acceptable to implement future concepts through incremental steps, but they also know the concept itself must not be an incremental change. The leader’s next, and possibly most difficult task, is to capture the concept in words that communicate the essence of those discussions in simple, high-level, and memorable terms.
Once future strategic concepts are articulated, the leader needs to prepare a roadmap on how the team will investigate, develop, test, and implement efforts to achieve each of the strategic concepts that support the overall vision. SUBTECH’s path to the future is based on the four strategic concepts that result in the identification of the submarine tasks for 2020. These 2020 submarine tasks require various capabilities that can only be achieved through the development and insertion of new technologies. And finally, the evolution of science from which these technologies emerge and the cost to create these technologies drive the timeline and the cost that then become our long-term investment strategy. Leaders know that by defining this path, the leader reinforces validity of the team’s vision and builds confidence within the organization that the vision is achievable.
Most motivational psychologists recognize that money is a strong driver for achievement. Most managers think about money in terms of personal salary. That is what Maslof and Hertzberg taught. Leaders think of money as funding support, authorzations and appropriations, and a necessary tool to motivate a self-actual-ized work force. Therefore, leaders understand the importance of having a comprehensive familiarity with the funding cycle. Leaders know the intricacies of the basic Planning Programming and Budgeting System (PPBS) and each individual organizational component of the PPBS system, such as SUBTECH’s S&T cycle. As leaders assume positions of greater responsibility, their sensitiv-ity and understanding of the funding cycle becomes much more detailed as it also becomes broader in it scope.
When speaking about money, everyone is aware that the competition for appropriated funds is keen. The Department of Defense competes with all the other departments for its portion of the President’s budget. The Navy competes with all the other services for its part of the DOD budget. And at every leader’s command, just like at NAVSEA, each command competes for its portion of the Navy budget.
Leaders develop an acute awareness for recognizing important budget issues. This awareness comes in part from reviewing the President’s guidance to OMB. It can be derived from congressional testimony and documents that present the sense of Congress. It can be assimilated from government reports such as those prepared by the Government Accounting Office or the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. And most significantly, it can be enhanced from reading the newspapers, listening to the news reports, attending public meetings and by developing an awareness of what the general civilian public is thinking. This is important because the general public’s influence on political thinking and political thoughts, represented by their elected officials, drive budget authorizations and appropriations. Good leaders develop this awareness of pending change far in advance of others.
The Department of Defense is looking for new ways to do business. Many call itWaifare Process Re-Engineering. Knowing this can help leaders develop future capabilities that provide this Warfare Process Re-Engineering. Leaders not traveling down the re-engineering path should redirect their efforts so their programs will compete favorably for scarce budget dollars. Another tactic is to seek dual use opportunities. Dual use is synonymous with Seize the moment and run or Strike while the iron is hot. Leaders recognize when the nation is in crises. They see dual use opponuni-ties when they open up-particularly in the area of technology development. Leaders take advantage of these opponunities while they are still available. Too often, the manager also sees these opponunities, but fails to act quickly enough to consummate the marriage before the opponunity evaporates.
Dual use technologies that are necessary for your program and which benefit other governmental organizations are ideal candidates for supplemental and participative funding. Intelligence, Recon-naissance, Surveillance and Targeting technologies are important to other government agencies fighting the War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism, and to Homeland Security. Being connected with non-DOD agencies that also desire capabilities and similar techno-logies, helps the leader create partnerships and gain funding support for decisions that are more favorable to the leader’s program.
Leaders promote public-private partnerships to reduce overall government costs. Efforts where the government develops a technology and then hands it off to industry to produce the system reduces both the government’s costs and the investment needed by industry-both win.
Leaders leverage their efforts on other programs. This is very similar to developing dual use technologies, because new technolo-gies evolve that support two or more different programs. Some good examples of leveraging include the S&T and R&D programs to produce new batteries, or the investigation of a new computer chip design that significantly enhances the power of computers to process data. Leaders will seek out partnerships with DARPA and other Navy laboratory programs to provide fertile opponunities for leveraging technology advancement efforts.
The government provides many vehicles to stimulate the evolution and expansion of technologies. Federal Research and Development Laboratories are required by law to promote and enter into Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, or CRADAs, with other government agencies, private industry, and individuals. The Department of Energy sponsors the Federal Laboratories Consortium and has established offices at each of its laboratories to facilitate technology transfer. Leaders take advantage of these opportunities.
Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) agreements and other government grant programs are also available to provide funds to support technology development or technology transition. Becoming involved with those who seek SBm funds and grants is important for building the interest among those industries and research institutions, so that they become the promoters of a leader’s technology needs.
And finally, leaders provide an inspirational setting that can be used to promote their vision. This setting also provides the solitude to refocus thoughts when the pace gets too fast. SUBTECH’s technology center has been established to provide such a creative space. It is located within the NAVSEA building at the Washington Navy Yard. It contains multiple visual presentations that help the visitor understand the SUBTECH vision. It also helps the visitor develop confidence in the viability of SUBTECH to reach that vision.
Seek Out and Solve Problems
The third side of my Leadership Triangle expresses the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of the catch. Nothing can be more challenging or more satisfying than solving complex issues, particularly if others have tried and failed. The visionary leader thrives on the What if and shuns the If only.
Appreciative Inquiry is an intervention technique good leaders can use to solve problems. Appreciative Inquiry attempts to create new theories, ideas and images that aid in the development of change. The key innovation of Appreciative Inquiry is that it collects people’s stories about something at its best. It shifts the emphasis from What problems are we having? to What is working? These two questions clearly underline the difference between the traditional change management approach and Appreciative Inquiry.
Appreciative Inquiry is based on dialogue. The first step is to collect opinions and observations of everyone involved through telling stories about what has been and is successful. These observations are then shared in a workshop format to identify the themes and topics that run through the stories. Finally, a selection of the most important of these themes fonns the basis for building a series of provocative propositions that describe how the problem can be resolved.
The leader’s first task in solving the apparently impossible is in understanding the challenge. The leader’s comprehension of the challenge begins to form while the leader progresses through the vision development phase of the Leadership Triangle and continues in parallel with the motivation side of the Leadership Triangle. It is important that a leader be aware that, without a properly defined far-sighted vision and motivated people, the leader can never really solve the impossible. In essence, he or she fails as a leader and can only hope to be a good manager.
The leader must define problems in practical terms. Leaders dissect problems into their lowest component parts and address each one separately. This creates opportunities for many small successes that will eventually achieve the overall goals of the leader’s vision. The pitfall here is sub-optimization. Leaders will not forget the Big Picture when seeking solutions to each of the component chal-lenges. Likewise, if you find yourself as the person charged with developing solutions to a component challenge, as an aspiring leader, do not sub-optimize, emphasizing your project at the expense of jeopardizing the more senior leader’s overall vision.
Another important consideration, needed to solve the impossi-ble, requires the leader to maintain an open mind to the suggestions and ideas of others. Leaders must really listen to and understand what is meant to be heard when others speak. Leader want-to-be ‘s who are unable to solve the impossible often fail, not because there was no solution, but, because they were too busy listening to themselves talk, or too busy defending their own position. Instead, they should have been asking themselves: “Would this different approach I am hearing work? Could it be as good or even better than the one I thought of?”
Others who fail may hear the words but don’t really understand what it is they heard. Leaders who solve the impossible often restate other’s positions in their own terms. This reinforces to the speaker that key points are understood by the leader, and reassures the leader that he or she correctly understands what was said.
And finally, never use or accept the tenn un-e.xecutable. This terms expresses an acceptance of inevitable failure. A leader will always present options and consequences, alternatives or compro-mises, and solutions or choices.
To resolve complex problems, SUBTECH has created a technology organization that provides leadership direction. It has defined technology management missions for its leadership cadre, and it has designated technology leaders in charge of Technology Task IPTs to promote and sustain a common vision and to prevent the emergence or organizational sub-optimization.
The SUBTECH technology management organization’s mission is to provide a central focus and a guiding hand in the coordination of submarine R&D, to develop a consensus for R&D goals, and to develop an investment strategy that supports those goals. It has three tiers of leadership-The Flag Chaired IPT, the Integration Working Group, and the Strategic Concept IPTs.
The Flag Chaired IPT provides the top-level guidance that directs the actions of the SUBTECH technology management organization. It recommends priorities for technology investment and how to leverage submarine-related research and development programs. The Flag Chaired IPT also acts as the interface between SUBTECH and other Navy programs to assure SUBTECH is supponing the Navy’s Big Picture vision to directly and decisively influence events on land anywhere at any time.
The Integration Working Group oversees the coordination effons of others within NA VSEA and elsewhere, who are develop-ing solutions for each future strategic concept. Its mission is to assure that proposed solutions and technology development initiatives remain on-track toward achieving the overall vision that I have presented today.
The Strategic Concept IPTs focus on technologies in each of the four concept areas plus a fifth area of ship architecture. This fifth SCIPT is responsible for addressing technologies needed for the future submarine platfonn strategic concept. SUBTECH technol-ogy management direction focuses the SCIPTs so that technologies are driven by capability needs-not that capabilities become developed because technologies are available.
SUBTECH leadership gathers the requirements and the mission needs from the fleet, strategists, and future studies and promotes those visionary requirements to the S&T, R&D, and Acquisition communities.
SUBTECH integrates programs and coordinates efforts by producing roadmaps to achieve desired capabilities through balanced investment recommendations. The emphasis is always on transitioning a fielded capability through a best value investment strategy.
As you know, technology transformation moves from concept development, to proof of concept and scientific investigation, through research and development, and eventually results in fielded capabilities. Wargames and seminars, modeling anJ simulation, and field experiments support concept development, S&T, and R&D. Throughout this process, costs to the Navy increase. SUBTECH’s role in technology transformation is to promote exploration of options to meet emerging challenges, and facilitate the enabling of innovation and transformation in a fiscally con-strained environment.
One example of how SUBTECH facilitates this innovation in a fiscally constrained environment is our joint DARPA/NA VY effort. This joint technology initiative awarded two contracts to two large multi-corporate teams for the development of payload and sensor technologies to make future submarines more effective players in future littoral warfare conflict environments. This joint effort resulted in the demonstration process that is managed by SUB-TECH through NA VSEA. The demonstration process managed by NAVSEA has transitioned from concept exploration into concept advanced development. It included the initial demonstration of candidate technologies and the down selection into a few promising programs that are most likely to achieve the best value investment for the Navy.
As technologies develop, they will be prototyped, tested, and installed on existing fleet submarines for eventual insertion into the SSGNs and the Virginia class of submarines. Successive Virginia class hulls will see continuing insertion of new technologies when they are developed and fielded as new submarine capabilities. The insertion plan considers technologies whose selection is driven by RDT&E and SCN budgets, while, at the same time, it is consistent with fleet prioritized capability requirements.
The Virginia class submarine is being built for an anticipated life span of thirty-plus years. Technologies will transition into capabilities throughout the Virginia class hull production plan. These emerging technologies and newly developed capabilities must also be available for already constructed hulls. SUBTECH envisions modularity solutions which will achieve both the retrofit requirement and the SUBTECH vision’s flexible reconfiguration goal-the vision that solves the problem of providing the desired capability when and where needed.
Leadership Principles-Arrows for Your Quiver
Seek Self-Improvement. Professional development is a continuous process. It is fundamental to understanding and achieving results in any organization. Through self-evaluation, a leader or commander is able to recognize his or her strengths and weaknesses in order to determine personal capabilities and limitations.
As a result, the leader can take specific actions to further develop strengths and work on correcting weaknesses, and we all have those. I have found that continuing education greatly enhances one’s own level of self-confidence. In other words, the more secure everyone else around them will be. That feeling is crucial to fashioning a sense of trust with that individual and their co-workers. For the leader, it is essential. People want them to succeed. Trust in those who fill leadership positions allows the desire of the leader’s people to become a reality.
Be Technically Proficient. Effective leaders are thoroughly familiar with the operations, training, and technical aspects of their assignments. They know that demonstrating technical and tactical competence inspires confidence and trust. This principle is related to the principle of knowing oneself and seeking self-improvement. Those who aspire to leadership must prepare themselves to assume the duties and requirements of leading at the next level.
While this may seem self-evident, ask how many people have ascended to a leadership position and then suddenly found them-selves out of their league? I am sure everyone knows someone like that. We commonly refer to this as the Peter Principle where, in a hierarchy “every individual tends to rise to his or her own level of incompetence”. This principle demands that leaders take responsibility for staying abreast of current developments through training, professional reading, and personal study.
Seek and Take Responsibility. Achieving organizational results means accepting responsibility. While responsibility for portions of a project may be delegated, ultimate responsibility for success or failure is borne by the leader of the group or organization.
Leaders cannot be omnipresent and omnipotent, but they can exercise initiative, resourcefulness, and imagination along with being responsible. Responsibility is demonstrated by decisiveness in times of crises-not hesitating to make decisions or to act to achieve operational results.
Today’s business world is dynamic in the extreme, and leaders act in the absence of orders to take advantage of fleeting windows of opponunity. Again, here is where the personality of the leader becomes a major factor.
Leaders see problems as challenges rather than obstacles. Leaders accept just criticism and admit mistakes. They encourage others to do likewise. Any efforts to evade responsibility will destroy the bonds of loyalty and trust that must exist between leaders and those they lead.
Seeking additional responsibility will assist leaders in preparing for duties at higher levels. Here is where consistency and predicta-bility come into play. Leaders adhere to what they believe is right, and have the courage to accept the results of their actions.
Make Sound and Timely Decisions. Today’s Navy demands rapid estimates of situations, sound decisions, and timely initiation of actions to accomplish those decisions. A person who delays or attempts to avoid making a decision may cause unnecessary speculation and second-guessing of the final decision, as well as causing the probable failure of the vision. Success hinges on creative, flexible leaders who can quickly adapt; anticipate opposing reactions; and then make, and rapidly execute, sound decisions.
Adaptation and anticipation of what is coming down the pike is something on which we spend a lot of time within SUBTECH. It is the nature of our organization, and of our business partners. None of us could do our job if we did not take the long view. This is good advice for you as well. Take the time to step back from the pressures of the moment to look at the Big Picture. Always color your perspective this way. Believe me, it helps.
Set the Example. The power of example is great, but it forms only a pan of what instills trust in the leader. Leaders win confidence and loyalty through their actions. Soldiers and sailors will always emulate the behavior of their leaders.
This is not an arena for wimps and wallflowers. Implementing this principle requires both moral and physical courage. Leaders set the example by maintaining high, but attainable, goals and standards and by ensuring that their own actions match what they require of others.
Again, this principle is related to all the other leadership principles, and it is essential that leaders share the dangers and hardships that their decisions may bring to the organization. Leaders implement their vision for change with a firm belief that if it hurts the men and women who work for them, it should also hurt them.
Care for Your Shipmates. Leaders know their Sailors and look out for their well-being. This principle focuses on instilling trust and confidence in the men and women who work for the leader. Trust and confidence develop and sustain loyalty and cohesion, thereby creating a better organization. This is important because cohesive teams are more successful than those that are not. Loyalty reinforces this confidence and is the foundation for motivating any subordinate.
Loyalty begins at the top-not at the bottom-and is two way. Men and women who respect their leaders expend more effort to ensure their tasks are accomplished to the best of their abilities. Leaders will take the time to know their crew in order to motivate and influence them to accomplish the mission. Cohesion then flows from loyalty and becomes the bedrock that keeps the group together during the stress and chaos of change.
Keep Your People Informed. Military success is founded upon actions taken in the absence of orders. Infonning subordi-nates supports the ability of subordinate leaders to make and execute decisions within the context of the established intent. Information also greatly reduces fears and rumors that affect the attitude and morale of your men and women. Keeping them informed enhances initiative, teamwork, cohesion, and morale.
Subordinates must understand their tasks and how their personal roles relate to implementing the leader’s vision. It enhances their purposefulness, determination, and fortitude. This principle is directly related to establishing trust between the leader and the led.
Develop Subordinate Responsibility. The human emotions of pride and determination can be employed to develop a sense of responsibility through delegation. A truly effective organization will perfonn well in the absence of critical leadership. Delegation of tasks with commensurate resources develops subordinate leaders so they may be able to assume leadership roles at succeeding higher levels. Leaders are teachers and take responsibility for profession-ally developing subordinate leaders.
I have found the success or failure of this particular principle to be in lock step with the personality of the leader. For some, it is excruciatingly difficult to delegate authority and decision making. Sometimes, this may become impossible. For some, their personal-ity just will not allow it. A person who falls into this category is doomed to fail.
Communicate and Supervise. Leaders ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished. This principle is essential to accomplishing the mission and vision the leader is trying to implement. It is also a critical element of effective leadership and command. Understanding the task ensures that your people know what is to be accomplished, how it is to be accom-plished, when it is to be accomplished, and who is to accomplish it. Since our environment is, by definition, dynamic and characterized by change, this enhances the ability of your sailors to accomplish the task, even in the absence of detailed orders or when adjustments to the plan must be made because of unforeseen circumstances.
As with developing a sense of responsibility in subordinates, the right level of supervision must always be exercised. On the other hand, micromanaging is lethal to success. Care must be exercised in supervising. Excessive supervision stifles subordinate leaders and insufficient supervising leads to not accomplishing the task at hand. Yes, it is a balancing act that takes some intuitive sensitivity and great skill.
Build the Team. Cohesion is essential to success. People will jump through hoops to assure mission success when they respect and have trust and confidence in their leaders and co-workers. They will know that they are part of a good team.
Failure to foster a sense of teamwork can produce an ineffective organization. All the members of the team must be proficient in team skills so as to integrate those skills into effective team operations. Performance as a team provides the foundation for effective performance throughout the organization. An all prevail-ing unity of effort contributes to team integration.
We also believe that for a team to be truly effective, it must be diverse in its makeup. Achieving this diversity is something at which you have to work, no matter what kind of organization you have. In this respect, you have a luxury that I did not enjoy when I was a junior officer. There are a lot more women in the fleet now than then. This can be a powerful asset for you-take advantage of it.
Know Your People. Leaders employ their people in accordance with their capabilities. This principle combines all leadership principles and focuses on the precept of accomplishing the task, while looking out for the well being of your subordinates.
Obviously, all individuals have capabilities and limitations, regardless of race or gender. While it is necessary that the leader continually groom future leaders on tough and challenging tasks and drive them for improved performance, the groomer must make these tasks attainable to the groomee. Otherwise, the person who is being groomed for future leadership will lose confidence both in themselves, and in the leadership of the organization.
The obverse of this is true as well. Encourage and reward those who do good work. A simple, sincere “Well done!” or “Good job!” will work wonders. John Wooden, the famous basketball coach at UCLA, recommended that a coach use two words of encouragement for every word of criticism. I have found that combination to be about the right ratio for leading shipboard people as well.
Hit the Leadership Target
The Leadership Triangle and these principles have worked well for me over the years. This list is not the be all to end all for successful leadership and implementing change.
I remind all of you that we have responsibility to the people who hold a trust in our leadership. We have a responsibility to show that we will conduct ourselves at all times as persons of honor, whose integrity, loyalty, and courage are exemplary. Trust your subordinates personally, and back them professionally.
It is important for you to remember that your people want you to succeed. It may not always be obvious, but it is there. Always remember that the road to success is a two-way street. Not only should you command your people, but you should also learn from them as well.
Work for the respect of your people, not their friendship. The friendship will indeed be there, and it will be genuine. But you will not have to work at creating that friendship. It will come naturally, and without strings