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NEWS | Nov. 12, 2019

An Examination of the Mission: Force Multiplier Event “Why We Do What We Do”

By Hannah Bondoc, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Specialist

Firefighters put out fires to save people from injury. Doctors cure patients of illnesses so they can live healthy lives. Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) fixes ships, but the answer to why was broken down and discussed at the Force Multiplier event “Why We Do What We Do.” The presentation was developed by Engineering and Planning Department (Code 200) Branch Head Melinda Matthews and was based on information from a shipyard-wide Force Multiplier training last May. Department Head Mike Zydron (Code 200), Chief Engineer Mark Everett from the Chief Engineer Division (Code 240), and Division Head Steve Gogniat from Mechanical Engineering Division (Code 260) led the presentation.

According to the presenters, the shipyard mission is more than just a job, it is a service of protecting the United States as rising political tensions cast a global shadow over the nation’s security. As underlined in the presentation, “our ships need to be ready on day one.”

The only way to accomplish this is with a strong team. To create a strong team, one must develop the workforce with team-centered values. As Matthews shared from the NNSY Command Philosophy, “We develop individuals and teams of increasing competence and character to uphold high levels of trust and confidence, and to treat one another exceptionally well.”

The Force Multiplier recipe for developing the workforce is 70 percent experience, 20 percent exposure, and 10 present education. Experience entails of assignments that push employees to work with a team and stretch their capabilities. Exposure consists of learning through others. Last but not least, NNSY offers formalized training with teachers in classroom settings, and the choice to learn on one’s own.

By grooming NNSY employees, the Force Multipliers hope to instill the workforce with more than just a positive attitude, but with the capability for emotional intelligence. They define this trait as, “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” Through developing emotional intelligence, they also seek to help the workforce embrace its diversity in background and personality that enables it to live up to the expectations of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Teaching the workforce these skills will support employees to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office,” as Shipyard Commander Capt. Kai Torkelson told attendees.