Practice & Management  

Project Pack: U.S. Navy

The Leadership Summit

Bold and Enlightened Naval Leaders at Every Level
Forging an Empowered Culture of Excellence

The Leadership Summit was held at the Naval Postgraduate School, 3-6 December 2001. The first of its kind, the Summit assembled over 260 people ranging from seaman to Admiral, that also represented all backgrounds in our Navy. The Leadership Summit was an application of a new way to view and lead large-scale change called a Large Group Intervention (LGI). Combining LGIs with the positive change approach of Appreciative Inquiry yielded a dynamic summit process for rapid, collaborative change. Hence, the Leadership Summit was aimed at leadership improvement and our Navy's system of leadership development, utilizing an LGI with Appreciative Inquiry to quickly get to decision points with input from all stakeholders.

Background: In January 2000, the Honorable Jerry Hultin, then Under Secretary of the Navy, convened 19 mid-grade officers at the Center for Executive Education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The course was called "30-Something" and was a seminal innovation by senior leadership to tap the ideas of mid-level Navy executives. The group was given free rein to envision their Navy/Marine Corps of 2020. While many ideas were developed the group focused around their core vision of a Navy/Marine Corps that could "attract and retain great people." A central part of this goal was leadership.

High quality leadership is a cornerstone for everything our Navy does. As the 21st Century, Information Age Navy takes shape, how will leadership need to adapt? Today's rapid pace of change and increasing uncertainty is fueled by the constant development of new information technologies. This forces our Navy to become more adaptable, faster, and flexible in response. Growing access to information will increase participation in decision making processes. Hence, our people must be ready to respond, in kind, by stepping up to the call for increased responsibility and leadership. Further, the changing values of the Internet generation are an important consideration for all leaders.

Outcomes: During the Leadership Summit, participants used Appreciative Inquiry questions to tap into their own past high-point experiences in the Navy. The diverse group present discovered many commonalties and hopes for the future. The participants then learned how to leverage these past strengths and shared visions to create action plans for positive change. Specific outcomes included over 30 pilot projects. Additionally, the Leadership Summit:
  • Created a shared vision and alignment for the kind of leadership the Navy is calling for in its future
  • Provided spark for Task Force EXCEL's leadership component
  • Established a method to collect examples of exemplary leadership
  • Focused on the importance of positive "self-talk" and Appreciative Inquiry as a tool for leaders
  • Empowered participants with the knowledge of Appreciative Inquiry and the summit method
  • Demonstrated the value of this methodology for other complex issues facing the Navy
  • Participants returned with a heightened sense of the possibilities ahead - positive effect on retention
The Leadership Summit initiative was briefed to the Chief of Naval Operations in October 2000. Admiral Clark has since championed the effort as a CNO pilot project, and participated in the Summit on the third and fourth days. Admiral Clark's comments and other information about the Summit can be found on this web site.

The Leadership Summit is a helm for change,
"...right full rudder."

Project Documents:

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Document Navy Leadership Summit Video (Dec 3, 2001)
This video is from the Navy Leadership Summit held on Dec 3-6, 2001 and involving 260 people. Watch the streaming video or download the video

Document Roscoe, B., Hacala, M. (2001). Plot Course for the CPO Mess of the 21st Century. MCPON Public Affairs at DSN.
News Article (doc )
This news article describes an AI session which took place in Dallas with the chief petty officer mess for the 21st Century initiative.

Document Tripp, P., Zipsie, M. (2002). The Introduction of Appreciative Inquiry to the U.S. Navy Using Appreciative Inquiry Interviews and the Large Group Intervention with Applications to U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Strategic Management (Spiral-bound). Storming Media.
Book Description This is a NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA report procured by the Pentagon and made available for public release. It has been reproduced in the best form available to the Pentagon. It is not spiral-bound, but rather assembled with Velobinding in a soft, white linen cover. The Storming Media report number is A976304. The abstract provided by the Pentagon follows: This thesis documents the introduction of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) within the U.S. Navy and discusses applications of the Appreciative Inquiry based Large Group Intervention (AI-LGI) within Marine Corps Logistics strategic planning, implementation, and organizational change. It is a follow on from David Nystrom's thesis '360-Degree Feedback, Leadership, Leadership Development, Performance Appraisal'. Unlike traditional top down and bottom up strategies that seek to identify and analyze problems in systems. AI evaluates what gives life to organizations at their best moments by using the power of positive questioning. When combined with a Large Group Intervention, AI is a powerful tool to affect rapid organizational change. This thesis introduces AI, discusses its history, and describes the history of change efforts within the Navy. The thesis documents events leading up to and including the 'Leadership Summit', to include introduction of AI within the U.S. Navy and qualitative analysis of stories that address issues of leadership. It discusses Financial Management implications of implementing this process and describes using AI-LGIs within the strategic management process as a tool for facilitating rapid and collaborative organizational change within Marine Corps Logistics.

Website The US Navy Center for Executive Education: A website describing a bold leadership initiative. The Leadership Summit: Bold and Enlightened Naval Leaders at Every Level Forging an Empowered Culture of Excellence. The Leadership Summit at the US Navy is an application of a new way to view and lead large-scale change called a Large Group Intervention (LGI). Combining LGIs with the positive change approach of Appreciative Inquiry yields a dynamic summit process for rapid, collaborative change. Hence, the Leadership Summit is aimed at leadership improvement and our Navy's system of leadership development, utilizing an LGI with Appreciative Inquiry to quickly get to decision points with input from all stakeholders. This website describes this initiative and has many resources and links to Appreciative Inquiry and how it is being utilized at the Navy.

Document US Navy Leadership Summit - A Press Release. (2001, Dec). Press Release.
Press Release (pdf )
This press release announces the first-ever Leadership Summit describing the Bold and Enlightened Naval Leadership initiative organized by the CNO Admiral Vern Clark. Two hundred and seventy people ranging in rank from Seaman to Admiral met in the first ever Leadership Summit using the Appreciative Inquiry methodology throughout the three days.

Document Nystrom, D. (2002). Leadership Summit History. United States Navy
History Report (doc )
This 271 page document outlines the Navy's Leadership Initiative from the beginning. It is a rich story which unfolds into an inspiring set of events.

Document Nystrom, D. (2002). Leadership Summit Executive Report. US Navy
Navy Leadership Summit Executive Report (doc )
This 223 page document is the Executive Summary which was prepared following the Navy's Leadership Summit in December 2001.

Document Barrett, F., Nystrom, D., Tripp, P., Zipsie, M. (2002, Mar 19). US Navy Leadership Summit - Summary Report. Monterey, CA: US Navy: Leadership Summit.
Highpoint Stories (pdf )
This is an example of a summary report developed following the pilot Leadership Summit for the US Navy. Appreciative Inquiry was the methodology used throughout the three-day summit.

Document Navy Leadership Summit - Two Page Summary. (2002). .
Brief Two-Page Summary (doc )

Document Nystrom, D. (2002). Leadership Summit : Making a Difference at Every Level. US Navy.
Summit Proceedings (doc )
This 6 page article gives a brief summary of the Leadership Initiative.

Document Milestones and Timeline (2002)
Milestones and Timeline (doc )

Document Navy Leadership Interview Guide (2002)
Interview Guide (rtf )

Document Highpoint Leadership Stories (2002)
Leadership Stories (doc )
Highpoint Leadership Stories (read ahead preview) Prepared by: Dr. Frank Barrett, LCDR Dave Nystrom, LT Paul Tripp and CAPT Mark Zipsie, USMC The following collection of sample outstanding leadership stories is a preview of a book that will be handed out during registration at the Leadership Summit. The stories come from an in depth effort to discover examples of exemplary leadership happening in our Navy, today. The Leadership Summit Interview Team helped prepare the interview protocol, using principles of Appreciative Inquiry, and then conducted interviews of Navy people from all backgrounds and paygrades – from E-1 to CNO.

Document Provocative Propositions Created at the Leadership Summit (2002)
Provocative Propositions (doc )
The United State Navy embarked upon an exciting journey to explore Bold and Enlightened Leadership at every level. The held a three day AI Summit in December 2001. On day two of the Leadership Summit they ended with the group producing Provocative Propositions. These propositions were based on emerging elements of the Common Ground Future Vision articulated over the previous day and a half. Tables were given a Common Ground element to prepare a proposition from and invited to prepare a second proposition if there was interest in another area. The propositions are organized with the Common Ground element that they support.

Document Pilot Projects- The Leadership Summt (2002)
Pilot Projects (doc )
This document lists the pilot projects which were created as part of the Leadership Summit in December 2001.

Document Thank You Letter (2002)
Thank You Letter (doc )
This letter was sent out to all the participants who attended the Leadership Summit.

Navy Customer Relationship Management Summit(2002)

Outbrief (ppt )
Instruction Sheets (doc )
Attached is an a outbrief (PPT) that details our 2-day summit on improving Customer Service in the Navy. It highlights our process, as well as what we found.

View the graphics that were created by Diana Arsenian (graphic recorder) at the Leadership Summit in December 2001.

- Sponsored by the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University -
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