Prior to that, Stevens was getting ready to retire. He and his wife, Theresa, were all set and ready to start another phase of their lives.
"So I went home and talked to Theresa and said, 'what do you think? Adm. Harvey wants to put me in,' and she said 'sure, I think we've got some life left in us, let's go do this if we can.' So I went back to Adm. Harvey and said 'sir, it would be an honor to have the opportunity to become the MCPON, it would also be a relief not to.' I was under no illusion of the challenges of the job and the things I would likely take on, and I realized those things could potentially be difficult. With that comes a lot of hard work and a lot of hours, and stress from time to time, but it was a calling. It was a duty. You put your retirement aside. I don't say 'no' to four stars, when they ask me to step up to the plate, I step up."
When Stevens first got to the office, he wasn't 100 percent sure of what his goals were.
"I had an idea of what I wanted to do," he said. "I knew what the MCPON leadership Mess was doing; I had a pretty good sense for the direction the Navy was going and so I had formed some general thoughts and ideas but hadn't fully formed what I wanted to do going into the future. So I gave myself about three months of just speaking with Sailors out and about in the fleet and then I came back and tied all that information in with what I was thinking and that's where I came up Zeroing in on Excellence which consists of three areas: Developing leaders, good order and discipline, and controlling what we own. So that became the genesis for just about everything else that we did from that point forward."
Developing leaders was especially important to Stevens.
As leaders we have a responsibility to establish and maintain the conditions that provide an opportunity for all of our Sailors to be successful." -MCPON Mike Stevens
"Now remember I didn't say MAKE them successful, I said provide an opportunity to BE successful. And most importantly we must do all this while treating one another with dignity and respect. I believe much of the work we did, especially in the area of developing leaders, whether it be CPO 365, our CPO Fleet Training Teams, the Senior Enlisted Academy, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Executive Leadership Symposium, all talked a lot about what it means to be a leader, leading yourself, treating people with dignity and respect, and proper ways to influence your Sailors."
One of the initiatives Stevens is most proud of, and a program that most will consider his legacy, is the CPO 365 program.
"Something that is near and dear to my heart is CPO 365," he said. "When we rolled that out in the way that it is today, there were 30,000 chief petty officers not to mention the 50,000 first class petty officers that were involved in this; and for CPO 365 to grow roots and get to the point where it's at today - a really, really good professional training program - took time and patience. My hope is that people will remember the reasons why CPO 365 started, and that it will continue to be something that has a positive impact on the Fleet."
CPO 365, along with eSailor and the changes to the Senior Enlisted Academy were just three among many initiatives the MCPON accomplished throughout his tour. But he said time will tell just how successful he was.