On the West Coast, a skipper is ordered to terminate his highly successful management incentive program because some of his men have completed their assigned tasks in less than the standard eight hour day and have been allowed to go on liberty. At an East Coast port, all command duty officers are required to be on the quarterdeck between 1600 and 2000 daily to ensure that the liberty party is in acceptable attire. In Washington, a Navy civilian employee is reprimanded for a security violation because she failed to "sign off' her safe at close of business, even though her safe was properly locked. What do these seemingly unrelated events have in common? Very simply, they illustrate the most pervasive and insidious management problem in the Navy today: the means/ends inversion, a focus on activity in lieu of goals. Procedures are stressed to the exclusion of substance.
"Get Off My Back, Sir!"
By Commander Robert E. Mumford, Jr., U.S. Navy