Distribution commander unveils command philosophy at inaugural town hall

By Emily Tsambiras DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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During his first formal address to the DLA Distribution headquarters workforce, commanding officer Navy Supply Corps Rear Adm. Kevin Jones laid out his tenets for a successful and cohesive command environment.

The June 28 event, Jones’ first since taking command just two weeks prior, focused primarily on his command philosophy, which he says has taken years to hone.  “[My philosophy] has evolved throughout my previous commands- and this is my fourth, so hopefully I’ve gotten it right this time.”

Beginning with “Culture,” Jones stated that people are undoubtedly the most important asset to the organization. 

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Special Operations, which is unlike the other services which all have their own weapons systems.  In Special Ops, the person IS the weapons system.  Logistics is much the same.”

He emphasized that for employees to be efficient and effective at their jobs they need to feel empowered.  The key to fostering that type of culture, he said, is to “Talk less, listen more.”

His philosophy’s next focus- “Customer”- is the “Why?” of DLA Distribution, said Jones.

“There are kids downrange in harm’s way.  We all have bad days but just think about that kid downrange, looking for that part or service they need to get a plane up or a ship out.  That’s the ‘Why?’”

He urged employees to regularly reflect on why they are doing what they are doing, and, when faced with a problem or roadblock, find out how to get to “Yes” and meet the needs of the customer.

“Every day think about ‘What are we doing and how is it supporting the warfighter?’  We don’t want the ‘No,’ but rather the ‘Yes, but…’  I need to know what happens to get to ‘Yes.’”

Finally, Jones discussed his third focus area, “Command.”

Despite the fact that he says he’s been a career-long customer of DLA with no complaints, Jones cautioned that reputation takes “years to build, minutes to ruin.”

“Right now the [Combatant Commands] are singing your praises, but that can easily change.  We need to maintain our reputation of getting things done and taking care of the people.”

Concluding the town hall, Jones said “You should be pretty proud of what you have done.  And, at the end of the day we want our reputation to be such that when General Williams has a nasty, hard problem, he says ‘Let me call Distribution.’”