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My Philosophy on a Navy Commander’s Philosophy

A Philosophy on Command Philosophy – and 16 philosophies to copy from

All prospective Navy commanding officers goto a two-week Prospective Commanding Officer Course located in Newport Rhode Island. The course falls under the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center which falls under the Naval War College.  It is a great course which I’ve been to twice; once as a Prospective XO and once as a fleet up XO/CO.

As per the PCO school website “ Our Prospective Commanding Officers Course is a designed for Commanders and Captains en route to their first Command tour. It focuses on communication skills, self-awareness, ethical standards, teamwork, and command climate to increase overall Command Triad effectiveness.”

One of the overarching topics at the PCO course is the development of each Prospective Commanding Officers Command Philosophy.  This philosophy is then to then be widely distributed at his/her command and formed the basis for how that commanding officer is to operate over the next 18-24 months.

While I understand the intent, I’ve never received much value from reading a senior commander’s philosophy. They all seem to say just about the same thing, and they rarely prioritize the commanders wishes making it difficult for those below to understand how to prioritize one value over the other.

Taking these criticisms into account, rather than developing a traditional commanders philosophy I’ve developed three individual products that offer much more utility for myself and for my command.  Those products are CO’s Business Rules, CO’s Priorities, and my individual goals.

The CO’s business rules are a simple one-page document outlining how I like to administratively operate. It contains guidance on how I like to receive products, how I like to disagree, and the best way to present information. It is essentially 8 years of what I’ve learned about myself wrote down for others to follow. I give this product out to new check-ins and periodically refresh people on my expectations if I feel we are getting off track.

The CO’s priorities are a one-page PPT which I outline my major administrative and operational priorities for the week. While my operational priorities are more static, based on our training cycle my administrative priorities change frequently.  I brief this product weekly at my Commanders Update Brief.

Finally, The CO’s goals are my personal goals which I write down in the back of my green book and share with no one. Those goals are my encouragement to myself to live out my values and lead by example. They are to daily remind me of the leader I want to become with the intent of others seeing and emulating my leadership example.

However, with all that said, you are probably not here to hear my thoughts on a Command philosophy.  If you are looking for a more traditional command philosophy below are 16 more traditional Navy command philosophies from 05 and 06 commands to review, modify and copy.

16 command Command PHILOSOPHIES

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