JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON –
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens shared "sea stories" and his vision of leadership in the Navy with Sailors and chief petty officers during meetings Oct. 30 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
During his meeting with Sailors, Stevens said he was excited to spend time with them and encouraged them to ask questions and express their ideas on issues.
"These interactions I have with all of you are so important," Stevens said, adding that speaking with Sailors on the deckplates is the source of his guidance for Navy leadership.
"If I don't know what's on your minds - then how am I going to sit down with the (Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert) and other senior leaders and provide them with advice and recommendations that have a direct impact on you and your families?" he asked.
Stevens discussed his "Zeroing In On Excellence," an initiative he released last year, explaining its three focus areas: developing leaders, good order and discipline and controlling what we own.
"If we work on these three things together - I call it 'pulling on the rope' - if all 400,000 of us pull on this rope together, then we are going to make a difference in our goals for excellence."
He said developing leaders is imperative for the Navy and urged Sailors to take advantage of every training and mentorship opportunity offered to seek self-improvement and grow as professionals.
"No organization will ever rise above the capabilities of its leadership," Stevens said.
"When leaders fail to meet their maximum potential, they prevent those people serving with them to meet their maximum potentials."
Stevens described good order and discipline as a concept - setting a personal example for others, especially those in leadership positions - that goes beyond just correcting Sailors.Controlling what we own focuses on personal goals as well, he explained, such as ensuring on-time arrival for duty; that uniforms are clean and worn properly and that Sailors give their best every day.
He strongly encouraged everyone to engage in sexual assault prevention.
"Make no mistake about it, sexual assault is wrong. It's extremely corrosive to the individual, to our entire organization and it prevents us from being able to accomplish the mission," Stevens said. "All of us in this room need to be active in eliminating sexual assault. It is no good for our Navy."
Stevens was also adamant that Sailors complete an online sexual assault prevention survey so leadership can assess the current climate and determine the proper course of action for future prevention efforts.
Questions ranged from funding levels for schools to social media usage and commissioning opportunities.
The MCPON's session with the chiefs included a detailed discussion of senior enlisted training.
What had previously been referred to as chief induction - the uniquely Navy practice of giving chief petty officer selectees a six-week transition period accompanying promotion - has evolved into a two-phase process known as CPO 365 Training.
All first class petty officers participate in phase-one training.
Phase-two training kicks in when a first class petty officer is selected for chief and includes time-honored traditions such as CPO charge books and a capstone event focused on teamwork and resilience.
During his session with the chiefs, Stevens announced his intention to make attendance at the senior enlisted academy mandatory for a senior chief petty officer to be promoted.
Stevens also said he was proposing a ship be named after Delbert Black, the first MCPON who served from Jan. 13, 1967 to April 1, 1971.
After speaking with the chiefs, Stevens said these meetings have both professional and personal benefits for him.
"When I visit with Sailors in the fleet, I get to plug in. And when I plug into those Sailors, they re-energize me and help me realize what a privilege it is to still have the opportunity to serve."
Between speaking with Sailors, the MCPON toured facilities at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Lackland.