BRILLIANT ON THE BASICS II PART A REVISITING THE BASICS (CORRECTED COPY)

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SUBJ/BRILLIANT ON THE BASICS II PART A REVISITING THE BASICS (CORRECTED
COPY)//

REF/A/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/140017Z FEB 08//

REF/B/PUB/BUPERS/17JAN17//COMMAND CAREER COUNSELOR HANDBOOK//

NARR/REF A IS NAVADMIN 043/08, BRILLIANT ON THE BASICS TAKING CARE OF
SAILORS. REF B IS BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL CAREER COUNSELOR HANDBOOK.//

RMKS/1. Our Navy is growing for the first time in nearly a generation. As
we build the Navy our Nation Needs, we need Sailors who are personally
engaged in the success of our Navy as well as their own personal success.
Similarly, we need leaders who encourage and enable this. Brilliant on the
Basics II is a charge to reinvigorate our efforts to foster an environment
where Sailors and their families want to stay Navy.

2. Let me set the stage, our Fleet is slightly undermanned and is recovering
from years of downsizing in a fiscally challenged environment. Our personnel
policies for the past 15 years were concentrated on downsizing. But our Navy
is now transitioning to a growing force. As a starting point, we expect to
experience sustained growth over the next five years to an enlisted end-
strength of 344,800 [an increase of about 21,000 personnel from FY17 to
FY23]. Our accession mission has increased 14% this year [from about 35k a
year to 40k a year]. That growth rate will continue as we prepare to man the
355 ship Navy. We have adapted personnel policies to support this growth,
and Sailors can expect improved retention incentives, advancement, and
leadership opportunity. The career choices, flexibility and transparency
offered by Sailor 2025 programs, as well as the Defense Officer Personnel
Management Act changes we are working for our officers, will be critical
elements in our toolbox to help influence the stay Navy decision. Finally,
our continuing Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education (MPT&E) system
transformation is designed to enable Sailor 2025 initiatives, move our
systems into the 21st century, and vastly improve customer service to our
Sailors and their families. These programs are just beginning to deliver and
will reach their full potential in about
18-24 months. However, all economic indicators show that the labor market is
already tight and getting tighter. It is harder to attract and retain
personnel who would be drawn to another workforce. This will significantly
challenge our ability to grow the force.

3. We do not have the capacity to grow the Navy by simply bringing more
Sailors in the front door. We must also retain more of our trained and
experienced personnel to meet our manning requirements.
We have to start that effort today. This competition for talent will be won
by retaining the right Sailors with the right skill sets who consider Navy
their employer of choice. This retention effort is not just for our command
teams. This is an all-hands effort. We must all be Brilliant on the Basics
of retention.

4. In 2008, then-CNP VADM Harvey promulgated our first Brilliant on the
Basics, reference (a). His message was clear and is applicable today. The
retention battle is fought one Sailor at a time on every one of our ships,
squadrons, submarines and stations. The mastery of the basics of retention
of each command will be crucial to fighting and winning this battle. Today,
just as in 2008, the basics of retention include six key programs: command
sponsorship, command indoctrination, career development boards (CDB),
mentorship, ombudsman programs, and recognition programs. These six basics
form the enduring foundation upon which every successful career is launched.
In many cases, these efforts represent our first opportunities to prove we
are truly concerned with the well-being, professional success, and family
support of our Sailors. These actions set the tone by which shipmates and
families ultimately choose to stay Navy. Ensuring these basic retention
programs are properly implemented in your command is an investment in the
future of our Navy.

5. Today, those six basics are hidden in chapter 4 of reference (b), the
BUPERS Career Counselor Handbook. Although completely re- issued just over
one year ago, reference (b) is already in need of an update, due to the pace
of change of our personnel systems as Sailor 2025 programs and the MPT&E
transformation improve the way we do business. Many of the program elements
outlined in chapter 4 of reference (b) are cumbersome and administrative in
nature, and will be simplified. Commands should instead focus on the intent
and substance of the programs. Some key elements of successful
programs:
a. Command Sponsorship. This program is owned by the command master
chief or chief of the boat. However, it must be operationalized and executed
by our deckplate leaders to be successful. Sponsors need to be senior and
mature enough to know the command, local resources, and how to get Sailors
and families what they need to get settled. Sponsors should meet Sailors at
arrival. How new crew members and their families are first greeted matters.
Make it a big deal, make it clear they are now part of your team, get them a
command ball cap and their name tag on day one, and make sure their family
feels welcome and is well taken care of. If you have ever seen the old Navy
training film, *the first
72 hours*, that is real. The wrong initial start can have an enormously
negative impact on a new Sailor. So make it right every time.
b. Command Indoctrination. Thought should be put into your command
indoctrination program. Too many commands treat this as a ticket punch and
allow a great opportunity to pass. Instead, command leadership should be
involved. This is an opportunity to reinforce our Navy core values and Navy
ethos, and to instill your command philosophy and expectations, among other
things.
c. CDBs. Respect and loyalty is a two-way street. The simplest and
most direct way leaders can help their Sailors is to give them honest, timely
and meaningful professional feedback and career advice. CDBs, if done right,
can be part of that. Rather than tie CDBs to calendar periodicity, tie them
to decision points in the career of each Sailor e.g., checking aboard, 2-3
months prior to any decision window such as orders, selective reenlistment
bonus extension or reenlistment, etc. Make CDBs an opportunity to engage
your Sailors, find out what it will take for them to stay Navy, be their
advocate and then help them succeed in achieving their goals.
d. Command Mentors. We all need and should have mentors who we rely on
and who rely on us to foster and develop necessary leadership skills. The
following excerpt is taken from the leader development framework:
*Teachers focus on transferring knowledge from themselves to students.
Coaches develop operational skills through sets and reps, drills and routines
that perfect an operational skill.
Mentors do all of the above, and more, in a way that is more personal,
involved, and longer term. Mentors probe deeply into their proteges
strengths and weaknesses, challenging them to be a more complete whole
person. …development comes from the clear sense of mutual commitment from
mentor to proteges and proteges to
mentor.*
Every command should have a mentoring program and mentoring should be
required for all. However, the personal connection required cannot be
ordered, assigned, or prescribed, so programs have to be flexible enough to
allow exploration. Sailors must be free to seek opportunities to be a mentor
and to find a mentor. You can and should develop an environment in your unit
conducive to mentoring.
Lead by example by seeking a mentor for yourself and offering to mentor
others. Set up opportunities for yourself and your team to network and
establish these types of connections and recommend mentors to proteges and
vice versa.
e. Ombudsman Programs. The recently released Navy family framework
recognizes the dependence of the Navy on the strength of our Navy families.
It sets goals aimed at improving Navy family support programs, better
connecting and informing our Navy families, increasing meaningful command
leader engagement with Navy spouses and families, among others. No one is
more critical to this effort than the command ombudsman, whose primary focus
is command communications, information and referral, in addition to providing
an avenue for hearing about the welfare of command families.
Choosing a top-notch command ombudsman and including them in the
communication strategy of your command as a part of your command team is
vital to your success.
f. Recognition Programs. Recognition should not be limited to formal
awards and awards should not necessarily be limited to the end of tour.
Proactive commands successfully employ many other creative mechanisms to
recognize the accomplishments their Sailors through nominations to special
programs, selection to special opportunities, or things as simple as a great
parking spot.
Whatever you can put in place, do it to make sure your Sailors are
appreciated and valued.

6. Part B of this message, to be released in the coming weeks, will focus on
the concept of engagement. By being Brilliant on the Basics and
incorporating all of the elements of engagement, we will create an
environment for our Sailors to feel truly vested in their Navy. The
competition for their talent is urgent, and we need to act now.

7. Released by Vice Admiral R. P. Burke, N1.//

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