In today’s ever-changing world it can be difficult to keep up with current trends, beliefs and methods. Former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens said he believes success still begins and ends with leadership and that a new way of training Sailors is important. He also believes the Fleet Chief Petty Officer Training Team (FCPOTT) he established in 2010 can deliver the kind of training Sailors need to tackle today’s challenges.
“It is one element of several things we have done over the past five years to help prepare our chief petty officers for the challenges they will face in the 21st century,” said Stevens.
The training team conducts a one day session for Chief Petty Officers (CPOs), first class petty officers, and soon possibly for officers as well. Post-tour command master chiefs (CMCs), hand-picked by fleet master chiefs to serve on FCPOTTs, help the command identify challenges it faces and determine the best way to overcome those challenges. This allows the command to own the process and, in turn, reset and reenergize the leadership.
“The training is geared to be delivered to individual CPO or FCPO messes in this format because the groups are uniquely qualified to figure out their own issues or areas for improvement instead of having ‘outsiders’ come in and tell them how to fix themselves,” said Command Master Chief Lawrence Linton, a Norfolk-based facilitator. “We use this method so they can provide their own critical self-assessment.”
Command Master Chief Jeffrey Steinly, a Hawaii-based facilitator, explained how important it is to keep distractions to a minimum during training. Off-site training allows the participants to fully concentrate and gives them the opportunity to get together in an environment other than work.
“We’ve held a few training sessions on a ship in the chief's mess or training classroom and you always get interruptions; 1MCs going off, people are thinking about their work because they’re at their work,” said Steinly. “We ask in our surveys if it was better to hold the training off-site, and universally, the participants say yes because it takes them out of that element and allows them to focus on that self improvement and all-around group improvement.”
The main focuses of the training are CPO responsibilities, key Navy programs, team building and leadership development. The curriculum stems from the Senior Enlisted Academy and the CMC/ chief of the boat course.