Friday, August 12, 2011

Out of the Navy and into the World

Presenting leadership training completion certificate to factory employee.

            When I turned over command of the Naval Base at Sasebo Japan, there were parties and celebrations, and a Change of Command ceremony.  The Japanese gentlemen of Sasebo who worked so closely with us arranged for the Japanese government to have the Emperor give me the “Sacred Treasure” award.
            This is an award emperors have been giving foreigners who rendered a service to Japan for some time, and the emperor that signed my award was Hirohito, the same one who had ruled the Empire of Japan during  World War II.
            At any rate, back to America my family and I came, and I was assigned a job in the Pentagon for the final year of my career.
Plunk!  I was one more superannuated captain, whiling away this last year, in the outer rings of the Navy part of the Pentagon.  I belonged to a small staff of captains and commanders, working for a junior rear admiral, supposedly the international affairs element for advising the Chief of Naval Operations. 
            In my time in the Pentagon, which some call “the five-sided wind tunnel” I’m afraid I did not detect much of the good works that come out of the Department of Defense.  Most of what I saw was bureaucracy that was not unlike that of the Soviet Navy. 
            Too much of what I saw the senior leadership of the Navy doing looked like circling the wagons, and protecting.  Protecting turf, making sure someone or some other service didn’t steal billets, or bodies.   We could have had three minor wars going on, but if some congressman hatched a plan to reduce the size of a base, or to cut the number of people assigned here or there, the admirals would circle and buzz like a flock of horseflies over a manure pile.  
            The admirals I saw in Japan, and all during my years in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean, were generally fine seamen and good leaders, the kind of men I would expect to be running our Navy.
            But here in the Pentagon, there were so many admirals stuffed inside the confines of the E-Ring it seemed to resemble the sight of six elephants investigating an orange. 
            One day President Reagan went to Reykjavik, Iceland to hold a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev, then leader of the USSR.  They agreed to get rid of a whole class of nuclear weapons, without consulting with the armed services.  Or at least it seemed that way.  What a scramble!
            The Navy I saw in the Pentagon, albeit in a relatively short exposure of less than a full year, was not the Navy of Spruance and Nimitz, Dewey, Mahan, Halsey, and Burke.
            Maybe that is what Washington does to politicians and military people alike.

When I retired from the Navy in Washington, I found myself in the scramble most naval officers do, trying to find a job in “the real world”. Our Navy retirement pay was just a portion of what we’d earned on active duty, so we looked for jobs.
            Most civilian companies didn’t need old guys to hold inspections and drive ships around.  They really would like to find ex-service types who can connect them up to a continuing stream of government contracts.
            When an officer has been ensconced in the Pentagon for years, often they simply take off the uniform and slide into a civilian position, working for a company that provides contract work for the Navy.
            Such a contrast.  I felt sorry for myself.  Just a few short years ago my counterparts and I were sliding through the back streets of Leningrad, trying to gather intelligence on a new Soviet warship… then I was commander of a naval base in Japan, hobnobbing with Japanese and American politicians and admirals, greeting commanding officers of carriers that visited, and generally representing the United States in the south of Japan. Now I was trying to weasel a good word toward winning a contract out of some Lieutenant Commander.
            So, in July 1987, the “eternity” of thirty years that I saw when I graduated in 1957 had flown by in a blink of the eye, and here I was, one more retiree, looking for a job.
            I eventually found a job at Sonalysts, a company that hired retired submariners and made most of its money helping the Navy plan antisubmarine warfare and submarine warfare programs.  Headquarters was in Waterford, Connecticut, close to New London, the heart of the submarine world.  But I went to an office in Alexandria, Virginia, which of course was close to the headquarters of the Navy, and the source of money that came from all the appropriations.
            The people at Sonalysts were good, dedicated former submariners helping current submariners think and plan for the future, helping with tests on submarine and surface warfare detection and warfighting systems.
            However I found that the skills I had used in the Navy were much less important than a skill I lacked, and that was how to wheedle or wangle new contracts.  
            After a year of this, I left before they could fire me. 

            I started a job search in Washington, but since we had just bought a small house in Rockport, Massachusetts, with the idea of making it into a retirement, or vacation, home, I also searched for jobs in Boston.
            One of the first jobs I looked for was as executive director of the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War.  The founder of this prestigious organization was Dr. Bernard Lown, and I had met him in Moscow when the IPPNW had a meeting at our embassy there with Soviet Physicians.   Perhaps the fact that a few years before I had been the officer in charge of 16 nuclear missiles aboard a Polaris ballistic missile submarine suggested that I wasn’t all that dedicated to preventing nuclear war.  At any rate, I didn’t get the job.
            I visited a few colleges in the Boston area, and at one, Endicott College in Beverly, MA, the president seemed interested in hiring me. 
            Dick Wylie had recently taken charge as president of Endicott College, and he was one whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm.  He hired me to develop a brand new operation for this small, two-year women’s college on the shore in the exclusive little village of Beverly Farms.  

Endicott College

             I was teamed with Chuck Clayman, Ed.D. and the two of us began a corporate education program to offer leadership training to employees at area businesses. Chuck was another very energetic, bright and knowledgeable man.  We began calling, visiting and schmoozing with presidents and human resource officers of banks, hotels, hospitals, factories, and city government offices, to develop tailor-made training programs for them.
            One of our search techniques was to meet company people at Chamber of Commerce breakfasts and after-hours get-togethers.  Chuck and I regularly fanned out at six in the morning, one to the north, the other to the south, and drinking coffee and eating muffins with business people in Amesbury, Newburyport, Salem, Lynn, Danvers, Beverly, Gloucester, Middleton, Topsfield, Ipswich, Essex, Swampscott, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, Salisbury, MA and Plaistow and Salem, NH. 
            We found good teachers, and taught classes ourselves, to provide skills that most college graduates had never learned, like how to interview a prospective employee, how to evaluate employee performance, how to counsel an employee.  How to chew out an employee (in private) and how to praise an employee (in public).  How to communicate with your employees; how to be a team member, how to form and lead a team, and so on.

Our training involved lots of role-playing and games, and
students  seemed to enjoy classes.

            It quickly became apparent that any man or woman who had served in the military, even as a very junior enlisted person, was miles ahead of the rest of the class in understanding leadership.
            My wife described the teamwork that Clayman and I developed:  He shook the trees, and I caught them when they fell out.  Chuck was brilliant at shaking the trees, and finding prospects, and my strong suit was developing solid leadership programs. 
            In the meantime, President Wylie was expanding Endicott.  First, it became a four-year institution, offering a bachelor’s degree.  Then it became co-ed, and the first men enrolled.  Soon after, he started to build up Endicott’s sports teams, and Endicott began to get more and more notice. 
            Total Quality Management (TQM) was starting to catch the attention of business leaders across America in these days (1989 to 1995) and we hired skilled trainers to conduct seminars.  W. Edwards Deming, a management training guru, had tried to teach automobile industry people in Detroit this marvelous technique, but they weren’t listening.  Someone at a Japanese automobile factory, probably Toyota, had him fly to Japan, and the Japanese did listen. 
            The Japanese caught on to TQM in a hurry, and it spread through their companies like wildfire, and gradually, the process started to spread in the U.S. 
            TQM was really quite simple.  It involved measuring performance, and involving employees in problem solving.  It required absolute honesty at every level, and once people learned these skills, they actually saw how to observe their own success. 
            We taught this business for about five or six years, and held conferences on campus several times. 
            Since Endicott was still a women’s college most of my time there, we also developed and offered several large women’s leadership conferences, inviting nationally known women authors and management consultants to come address the group and sit in on seminars.
            I got to see the inside working of many factories, banks, hospitals, schools and other businesses all over eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. I learned lots about flip charts, slide and overhead projectors, arranging for catering, advertising, and preparing work books. I sure got my fill of muffins at early morning meetings.  

And now, The Personal Navigator offers these interesting books and papers:
Tariff Reform or Free Trade?

Great Question, The: Tariff Reform or Free Trade?  By L.M.S. Amery and Free Trade or Tariff Reform? By J.M. Robertson, M.P. 1909 London, England: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd., No. 1 Amen Corner, E.C.             106 pp. 12 x 18 cm. Unique little book is bound with Amery's text, making the case for Tariff Reform at front of book, and Robertson's text, making case for Free Trade, bound upside down so HIS text is at the front of a book one might read in Chinese or Arabic fashion. Amery makes point that free trade is harmful and government intervention is helpful; Robertson points out that in union-controlled (protectionist)  countries like Germany and the United States, with tariffs, there is much more unemployment. Hardbacked cardboard covers, both loose. Front cover shows Britannia with shield, with factory smokestacks in background; Back cover shows her shield cast aside, as she welcomes birds labeled "imports".  In view of loose covers, poor.  (8163) $36.00. History/Economics

Crete: History of Crete by Theocharis E. Detorakis, Professor at University of Crete, Translated by John C. Davis [English Edition]        1994                Iraklion, Crete, Greece: Th. Detorakis. 469 + 54 pp. 13.8 x 20.2 cm. Author in Preface suggests that "the time for writing of an accurate history of Crete has not yet arrived" because of the length and depth of Cretan history.  Story of Crete from pre-history, through Minoan civilization, Dorian Crete, Roman period, Byzantine Crete, Period of Venetian rule, Ottoman rule, Autonomy, and Liberated Crete (1913-1941). Author ends with very brief account of Nazi invasion of Crete in May 1941. Includes 54 pages of maps, drawings, photos and other illustrations of Cretan history, including Nazi paratroopers invading island in 1941. Paper binding, wraps slightly worn, "Agglika" (English) sticker on cover, very good. (1724) $39.00. History/Greece

Modern Sanitation, March 1907 published by Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co., New York, London, Chicago  1907 Pittsburgh, PA: Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co. Magazine features cover photo of London's Piccadilly Circus, where public toilet is now located. Editorial by Horace Barnes notes that Europe is far ahead of U.S. in providing public toilets. "Sewage Purification and Disposal" by J.J. Cosgrove, Principles of Sewage Purification, Part III. "History of Sanitation" Part III. Ads for Porcelain Enameled Closet, Porcelain Enameled Bath and Lavatory all feature details and illustrations.  32 pp. 17.5 x 24.7 cm. Periodical, moderate wear, good. (8160) $35.00. Advertising

Vielliebchen [in German] von Marie von Olfers,  1882 Berlin, Germany: Verlag von Georg Stilte            15 pp.   20.5 x 27 cm. Vielliebchen by Marie von Olfers (b. 1826 d. 1924) is a children's book drawing upon old German custom. "Ihr Mädchen und Bübchen, Nur ja sin Vielliebchewn, S'ist nicht um das Essen, Uber um's Vergessen!" Decorated paper on board, worn, price mark on front free endpaper. All illustrated pages printed on one side of heavy stock.  Good. (2612) $29.00. Children's

Welcome Soap Premium Book          ca. 1926 Cambridge, MA: Lever Bros. Co., 164-190 Broadway 64 pp.     15 x 22 cm.            Housewives— save your wrappers from Lever Bros. Welcome Borax soap!   The soap that gives you smooth, soapy water to get clothes clean offers 1000 wonderful premiums, and they are all in this ca. 1926 book! Paper booklet, slight rusting around staples, else very good.   (2206) $22.00.  Advertising/Ephemera   

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