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Leading in Parallel – The Power of Mission, Team, Future and Fun
During James “JP” Kelly’s leadership tour at Sea Control Squadron 37 (VS-37), first as Executive Officer and then as Commanding Officer, the squadron experienced an impressive, documented turnaround in operational mission effectiveness and combat readiness. Moving from the bottom of the stack among other fleet squadrons, VS-37 underwent an organizational transformation resulting in being officially recognized as the top S-3 Viking aircraft squadron in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, earning every Training, Operations and Combat Readiness award (the Battle Effectiveness award, the Captain Arnold J. Isbell Trophy, the Admiral Thach Award for Excellence, and the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award).
In the process, JP was personally honored as the Air Wing’s Tactical Aviator of the Year and as the “Top Hook” Aviator for performance in the demanding Aircraft Carrier aviation environment.
He went on to do the same as Commanding Officer of VS-41, where he led an unprecedented change effort to address a long-standing backlog of Naval Aviators in the fleet training pipeline. JP and his team’s efforts increased “ready to train” aircraft availability by eighty percent. The Chief of Naval Operations officially delivered a Meritorious Unit Citation to VS-41 noting that “VS-41’s dramatic mission successes were not gained by additional sacrifices of maintenance personnel, but through innovative measures to increase morale, quality of life and commitment to excellence throughout the ranks”. Later, in his third Command tour as Commodore of the Pacific Fleet S-3 Wing, JP led a never before achieved simultaneous deployment of every fleet S-3 squadron following the attacks of 9/11.
What he didn’t know was that his former crewmate, Dennis “DB” Brouwer was working his way through a series of strikingly similar, remarkably parallel leadership experiences. JP and DB had served together in the original Crew11 in VS-21, hunting Soviet fast attack submarines in the North Arabian Sea during the height of the Cold War. In 1984, they had gone their separate ways, with JP rising through multiple Navy command tours, and DB building a career in hi-tech product management, marketing and Sales.
The parallels began in earnest when DB took over the Savvis network business, for it too was missing every key operational metric, including revenue growth, new sales, customer satisfaction, service installation quality, network performance and return on capital. Two years later, the business had returned to growth, and was meeting or beating its key goals and growing at industry standard rates or better. The results were based on the efforts of a newly engaged team that had succeeded at what seemed impossible…taking an exhausted business model that had been written off for dead by senior management, reimagining a new future and reinventing the business in the eyes of its customers and competitors.
In this entertaining, highly interactive presentation, JP and DB share the leadership lessons learned in their parallel experiences and apply them to challenges faced by managers and leaders at every level. Their mantra is “Focus on Mission, Team, Future and Fun” and you’ll see new levels of engagement, commitment, collaboration, and innovation that will make you and your organization stand out.
Their presentation leaves leaders with a new way to see the potential of their organizations, and the tools to create a concrete set of actions that will make it real.