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Get Real Get Better In Action

In the Get Real Get Better 2022 Review and 2023 Guidance, CNO Admiral Gilday defined the six standards of the Get Real Get Better initiative:
  1. Align on standards and goals
  2. Find and embrace the red
  3. Encourage learning through trust and respect
  4. Specify ownership
  5. Use Navy problem-solving methods
  6. Fix or elevate barriers

Below are communities within the Navy who recognized the need for improvement and a summary of the implementation of these six Get Real Get Better standards to address their need.

What it is
Have a clear sense of mission. Understand the standards/goals you or your team are working towards; pursue data (specific measures and metrics). If unsure, act transparently: seek clarity and do not assume; find stakeholders who can assist. If unable to meet the standards/goals, act transparently: report actual status with rationale. Over-communicate; for every task, ensure your people understand “the why”, and the task’s standards/goals.
• Assuming you know the standard/goal, then aligning effort to your own perception.
• Abruptly changing the standard/goal; or using the standard/goal as a weapon to drive subordinate performance.
What to say
• Find the reference, read the reference, follow the reference.
• This is how I understand the standard/goal, what am I missing?
• I would like to understand the standard/goal from your position.
• Who can we talk to and better learn the standard/goal?
• How will you measure our success, what metrics/measures will we use?
• Do you understand why I am asking you to do this?
• I want you to be successful, what can I explain better to help you understand about the Standard/Goal?
Reporting standard/goal achieved without understanding the standard/goal.
Interpreting a standard/goal to meet the level or effort you applied to it. Using a lack of understanding of the standard/goal to explain a poor result.



“The Red” are those areas where we are not meeting standards/goals or progressing to desired outcomes.

Be curious and exercise extreme ownership in identifying areas for improvement (accept this truth). Act transparently with your assessments, have the courage to shine a light on where you fall short; embrace both your obligation to speak up and the opportunity to get better. Foster an environment that inspires others to act transparently: hard, open and honest conversations that encourage everyone to get better.
• Hiding areas of known or suspected
deficiency from yourself, your
subordinates, or your leadership.
• Willingly accepting “good enough”,
satisfaction with the status quo, or taking
no action to improve your condition,
especially where there is high risk.
What to say
• Where do we have risk? Is it owned at the right level?
• Where are we not being fully honest to ourselves, our people, or our leadership?
• What is preventing us from excelling as individuals, teams and leaders?
• To improve our performance we want to first create a shared understanding of our problem and the associate risk.
• I respect you and value your contribution, so I want to talk straight with you.
• Let me tell you what I’ve observed and see if you agree.
• Help me understand the situation as you see it.
• We excelled in many areas and fallen short in others, let’s discuss.
  • Broadcasting the green, but hiding or minimizing the red. "Embracing the Red" up the chain of command, but shooting the messenger down the chain of command.
  • Creating problems when none exist; giving the perception that you can never be satisfied.


What it is
Take time to understand what problem you are trying to solve, and apply Navy Performance Improvement tools. Visit the location of the problem. Collaborate with other stakeholders. Get to the problem’s root cause, and move beyond symptoms. Focus on what matters most in fixing your problem. Take pride in finding ways to generate efficiency; not just working harder. Put solutions in place that will last beyond your tenure. Ask your subordinates where they are using these tools to focus on what matters most.
• Continuously reacting to problem symptoms; “Putting out fires”.
• Watching the same problem occur over and over again, and expecting a different result.
What to say
• What problems do we keep having again and again?
• Where do we need to pause and do deliberate problem solving?
• What problem are we trying to solve?
• What is really causing this? What is the root cause?
•What does the data show? Who else do we need to work with?
•What is the one thing we can make better that will have the maximum impact on our performance?
•If we can’t fix it, then who can and what do they need to know (fix or elevate)?
• Jumping to solutions without determining the root cause. Not understanding the standard/goal (data) in developing a solution. One and done: not measuring and adjusting the solution over time.



What it is
Identify and focus on what matters most, specific barriers limiting performance or mission accomplishment. Fix barriers internally or with peer help. Elevate barriers that matter most and require external assistance. Do so with specificity (this is what we need, this is why we need it, this is how our performance will change and when) and accountability (this is the person who is considering our barrier; and what actions they are taking/not taking and when).
If Senior: Measure yourself by creating opportunities for, and removing barriers for subordinates. Clearly communicate to subordinates your priorities for removing barriers, what you will do and not do, and when. Create a shared understanding of risk
• Keeping known barriers inside the command (not telling anyone). Not elevating subordinate barriers to next higher level.
• If Senior: Shooting the messenger. Viewing the discussion of barriers as
weakness, or a performance deficiency.
What to say
• What are the most important barriers to our performance?
• Do we understand our baseline performance compared to the standard/goal? Have we conducted problem solving to maximize our performance? Can a peer help solve the problem?
• This is how our performance compares to the standard/goal, if (this person) conducts (this action), our performance will change (by this amount, in this timeframe). 
If Senior:
• What (or who) is getting in the way of your mission success? Is it me? Let me explain what I will do to remove your barrier and when I will get back to you, or
• Let me explain why I cannot, or will not, take action
• Do we need to elevate this barrier further up the chain?
• Fixing problems internally in a way that creates unacceptable risk to mission, or unnecessarily exhausts their people. Elevating barriers without understanding the root cause of the problem or maximizing the efficiency of internal processes.
• If Senior , listening to barrier, but not taking action, or communicating planned action or status.


What it is
Model humility; be authentic; show empathy; demonstrate respect for each person. Be a learn-it-all, vice know-it-all. Seek-out and consider both an opposing view and previous lessons learned. Build Learning Teams by encouraging others to speak up and share their ideas; then act on these ideas. Assess the level of trust given to you and that you give to others. Ensure every micro-climate within your command reflects these values.
• Driving performance for a season (instead of creating teams that endure).
• Stifling innovation and creativity.
What to say
• Thank You.
• Acknowledge daily work when done exceptionally well…
• Do you feel connected to our team and mission?
• What do you think?
• What did we do wrong? How can we get better? What did we learn?
• What is the one thing you would do if you were me?
• Where do you feel micro-managed or stifled?
• Do you trust your leadership to do the right thing? Do you trust them to act on your and the command’s best interests?
• Showing respect for some (those who can do something for them), but not for all (those who cannot do something for them). Identifying learning opportunities, but not changing processes or behavior to support. Soliciting feedback, but not acting on it.



What it is
Seize absolute ownership of your assigned mission. For every standard/goal, barrier, or problem, ensure you know which person is in charge. Provide your full support to them. Become confident that those in charge, to include yourself, both understand the standard/goal, and are fixing or elevating barriers. Resolve situations when there is no clear leader. Build learning teams by delegating ownership down to the right level. Visit the owner on a routine interval to discuss their performance compared to the standard/goal.
• Assuming someone is working the problem or barrier.
• Being reactive to lack of ownership, vice proactive in specifying ownership.
What to say
• Are we experiencing “leadership by committee”?
• Who is the owner of this problem or standard/measure? Are they aware of their ownership? Do they understand the standard/measure?
• Do I have to make this decision, or should someone else?
• Have we delegated this down to the right level?
• How often should we revisit performance to standard/goal?
• Who is removing this barrier on our behalf? What is the status?
• Acknowledging ownership by another, but does not provide full support. Delegating without trust or aligning on clear standards/goals.