Saturday, June 24, 2006

Learn'n words for "Bullsh1t Bingo"

The Federal Executive Fellowship and Corp. Fellowship programs are outstanding concepts - and should be expanded. That being said, the below is nothing of unmitigated, feel-goodism garbage.

A week or two (sounds like 4 days)
learning buzz words in a golf shirt will not fix the problems we have. The missuse and missunderstanding of business terms and terminology is a cancer in our Flag Mess. You cannot learn "Best Business Practices" by spending a week or two in "Upward Bound for those on blood pressure meds."

This is pathetic. Lets mini-Fisk; respectfully.
Professor Neal Thornberry looked at his new class of students and could see the jitters.

“They were a little antsy,” he said. “They’re not used to sitting around on land for so many hours.”
That is just pathetic. We would be all better off if that was true. More time at sea, less time in DC.
The Navy, in an effort to run more efficiently, is sending its admirals back to school to learn how to think more like entrepreneurs. On June 8, a dozen admirals and a handful of other naval leaders completed a week of executive education classes on the Babson College campus.

The admirals spent four days attending sessions on such topics as “Organizational Innovation” and “Using Effects-Based Thinking.” They ditched their uniforms in exchange for khakis and casual sweaters and dispensed with formal titles to call each other by nicknames like “Sully” and “Arch.”

Emphasizing collaboration and negotiation is new for many admirals, but retired Vice Adm. Phil Quast, one of the architects of the program, said things are changing.
I can hear Skippy yelling from here.
“There was a ‘rice bowl’ mentality, where people would protect their resources and not share with others,” he said. “People who are dictatorial don’t command ships anymore.”
I'll just leave that there soaking in its parallel universe - besides one question; does he realize that the Fleet is reading and that the integrity of an officer's word is the only currency he really has?
During one session called “Influencing Without Authority,” the admirals formed small groups to practice negotiating win-win agreements. That gave them a chance for a new way of thinking after one admiral complained of another’s “take-no-prisoners” attitude.

“To be successful, you have to see the other group as an ally,” Thornberry said. “People in power who are arrogant about their power almost always create common enemies.”

Vice Adm. Paul Sullivan, who manages a staff of 53,000 as the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, said the business education programs have helped him improve productivity and interpersonal relationships. He said he’s also better equipped for negotiations.

“I own the people, but I work with five other admirals that own the money,” said Sullivan, who also attended the UNC training. “I want to influence them to go down the same direction.”

Rear Adm. P. Stephen Stanley, who is deputy chief of staff for capabilities and resource integration for commander, Fleet Forces Command, said the courses at Babson and UNC have helped him make his organization less hierarchical.

“We don’t flog sailors at the mast anymore,” Stanley said. “But will it ever get to the point where we’re throwing around beach balls on the mess deck? I don’t think so. Because we’re also sending people into battle, so we need to protect the formality of the military.”
I won't even comment of the statements above. It just makes our Flag Officers look like, well, you know. We all have the "Random Comment and Platitude" generator. Here is what I have a problem with. You do not become a Master of Business Administration in four days, two weeks, or two months. You don't even really have a sound understanding of the concepts and words you have just learned. You are about as much in depth on the subject as a parrot is of the English language.

No one tells these guys this though -- in the worst case of Outcome Based Education for Adults, they send these guys along in a few days with a bit of paper that makes them feel that they should be writing for Forbes Mag. The end result are things like TQL, HCS, and other Buzzword Generators that consume quality Staff Officer time until the next Change of Command or short notice PCS.....and those, ahem, officers who actually have a real MBA from a real university will shake their head and pine away for the days of the FDF in Japan and the command of something small, dangerous, and full of Sailors who look forward to getting underway. We are at war. Who knew.

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