Boatswain's Mate Seaman Joshua Vergara, right, and Seaman Ibitayo Adewole prepare to fake line aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).

Get Real, Get Better

11 January 2022

11 January 2022

“History shows the navy which adapts, learns, and improves the fastest gains an enduring warfighting advantage. The essential element is fostering an ecosystem—a culture—that assesses, corrects, and innovates better than the opposition.”
--Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, 
Remarks at 2022 Surface Navy Association Symposium

Get Real, Get Better
is a call to action for every Navy leader to apply a set of Navy-proven leadership and problem solving best practices that empower our people to achieve exceptional performance.
► The Navy has teams with great culture and great performance, but we also see examples of teams with poor culture and weak performance. The gap between our best and our worst performers is too large.
► To remain the world’s strongest Navy, we must have consistently strong performance. Get Real Get Better is the formula consistently used by our best performers.
► This approach empowers our people to find and fix problems – and innovate – at their level, from the deckplate to senior leaders.  We reward ownership and ingenuity, and we help each other remove barriers. 
► We are committed to accelerating our warfighting advantage by unleashing our people, not by burdening them with extra requirements, policies, or bureaucracy.
► Principles here and in the Charge of Command make our Navy more ready for competition and combat.

Every Navy leader must:

Get Real
► Self-Assess. Be your own toughest critic. Continually evaluate yourself and your team. All of us can improve.
► Be honest, humble, and transparent about current performance. Support others in getting real.
► Know your actual capabilities and limitations. Challenge your beliefs using data, facts, and diverse input.
► Embrace the red. Be curious and take pride in fixing problems. We are not a zero-defect Navy.
Get Better
► Self-Correct. Continuously fix small problems at the lowest level before they become large issues.
► Apply Navy problem solving tools and best practices to shift from more activity to better outcomes.
► Find and fix the root causes, not just symptoms. Set clear accountability and work collaboratively.
► Fix or quickly elevate barriers. Measure yourself on creating opportunities for your team to progress.
… using a learning mindset …
► Be a “learn-it-all” vice “know-it-all”. Transparently share what you learn to make others more successful.
► Be courageous; aim high even if you may fall short. When you miss, come back smarter than before.
Build trust. Honor and reward the value of each member of your team. Recognize others who support you.
► Experiment frequently to find the best solution. Adjust your plan based on learning.

Gilday Relieves Richardson as Chief of Naval Operations
Gilday Relieves Richardson as Chief of Naval Operations
Photo By: Ms. JoAnne Sorrentino
VIRIN: 190812-D-IF881-2002
CNO's remarks at
Surface Navy Association
January 11, 2022





Naval Aviation Vignette
An F/A-18F Super Hornet, from the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Feb. 19, 2021.
An F/A-18F Super Hornet, from the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Feb. 19, 2021.
Photo By: Petty Officer 3rd Class Olivia Nichols
VIRIN: 210219-N-KO930-2072
Embrace the Red

In the beginning of 2019, our F/A-18 super Hornet Fleet was at 55% mission capable… only about half of our inventory was ready to be used by the Navy for deployment and training. And Super Hornet readiness had been low for 10 years despite lots of money and resources being focused on extra repair parts and depot repair. We decided to embrace the red, to challenge our thinking and learn. We took a hard look at our performance, harnessed the data that was available, and realized that it was not a lack of inputs that was holding us back, but the capability of our processes to turn those inputs into outcomes. We learned from elevating our gaze up and out to look at the best performers that the real opportunity to improve Super Hornet readiness wasn’t in more inputs, but in process changes that made our maintenance teams more effective. Taking some best practices from the airline industry, we developed a new way to collaborate across the Navy in resolving down jet issues, and we developed a new approach in how squadrons do maintenance, building a playbook of how to do large maintenance checks more thoroughly and efficiently. With these and a few other changes, we drove our Mission Capable rate through the roof—it was incredible….in less than a year, we surpassed the DoD-required 80% Mission Capable rate, and have sustained that readiness ever since.
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Shipboard Fire Safety Vignette
Steelworker Constructionman Alexander Rose grinds out a metal strip in preparation for welding on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Feb. 2, 2021.
Steelworker Constructionman Alexander Rose grinds out a metal strip in preparation for welding on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Feb. 2, 2021.
Photo By: MC2 Storm Henry
VIRIN: 210202-N-DK042-1006
Self-Aware, Self-Correcting

Managing hot work (welding and grinding projects which cause heat and sparks) during a big maintenance availability is tough. The whole ship and shipyard is under pressure to get the availability done on time, but during one shift, we disapproved multiple requests because we were not meeting safety standards. We brought it up to our chain of command--the Captain completely had our backs, ordered a stop to all hot-work until everyone was able to get re-trained and on the same page of what was needed to do the work safely. It’s good to know that, despite the time-pressure to get things done, out team acted to find and fix this problem early, and fixed it before it grew into a bigger problem. We were self-aware enough to see the issue, and then had the discipline to self-correct it quickly.
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Naval Shipyard Vignette
Photo By: MCSN Emily Johnston
VIRIN: 171023-N-LC642-018
Fix or Elevate

We were sick and tired of not having enough calibration equipment to do all the Fiber-optic repairs. Too much time was being wasted scouring the yard for in-calibration equipment. This was leading to a huge backlog in getting our projects done—and even more delays in getting our ships out on time.  In the past, we would have just dealt with it, working back-breaking hours to make up for the lost time. Instead we decided to fix or elevate, bringing a clear barrier impeding performance to our bosses in the shipyard and NAVSEA. They quickly talked to the METCAL office, who gave us another way to temporarily get our equipment calibrated. Even better, the METCAL office is now working on a way to give us an in-shipyard way of calibrating test equipment.   
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