Today's episode is the second of three crossover episodes with Sound-Up Governance, a new podcast that's part of the Ground-Up Governance platform (www.groundupgovernance.com). In this one, Matt Fullbrook speaks with Lieutenant Colonel Jamahl Evans of the United States Marine Corps about what duty and accountability mean in his world.
Welcome back to Sound-Up Governance. One of the most common conversations I have with boards of directors and senior executives is about to whom they owe a duty. On the surface, it seems like a simple question, but most of the time, everyone in the room has a different idea of what "duty" even means. So the question of where your duty lies takes a lot more work to explore than most people expect. And when you add in the difference between duty and accountability, plus when and to whom you can delegate duties and accountability. Let's just say it gets tricky, fast. This week's guest is Lieutenant Colonel Jamahl Evans of the United States Marine Corps. In addition to his extraordinary military career, Jamahl is also a corporate governance enthusiast. As you might imagine, duty and accountability are baked pretty deep into everything that goes on in the Marines. But before we dive into that, I'll let Jamahl explain exactly what his job is because it's pretty neat.
I am currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. And what I do in the Marine Corps is financial management. I'm a financial management officer. That's what we call a Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS for short. In that capacity, I'm responsible for the planning and execution and oversight of my command's budget. Now, that's just the MOS piece. As I like to tell my Marines, your MOS is your job. Marine is your profession. So for me, my profession, and my first duty is being a Marine. And that means ensuring that my Marines and I are deployment ready and combat capable at all times. The section that I manage - my full title would be Assistant Chief of Staff, G-8 Comptroller - so that's a section and we've got about 14 Marines in there. So those are the Marines who are directly responsible and accountable to me to make sure that we're doing our financial management functions properly. Outside of that, external to us, are adjacent staff sections, and subordinate commands within the organization with whom we have to work to manage resources: make sure that we're that we've got enough resources and that we're using the resources we have properly.
Now, I'm going to assume that many of you listening are as ignorant about the hierarchy of the Marines as I am, where exactly does the rank of Lieutenant Colonel fit in the organizational chart?
So as a Lieutenant Colonel, I'm what's called a field grade officer, and there are three levels to that. So it's Major, which is what I was before, Lieutenant Colonel, what I am now, and Colonel, what I aspire to be promoted to in future. Beyond the field grade ranks, are the General or the flag officer ranks, so Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General and Four Star General. So right now I am, what you would consider - although I'm senior to several other ranks - I'm still right smack in the middle of the of the officer and organizational hierarchy. So every promotion, you're getting greater responsibility. And they are also greater opportunities to which you can be assigned. So as what's called a company grade officer - those are junior officers: lieutenants, and captains - you're going to have significant responsibility already. When you become a field grade officer. What's interesting is, now you are a little further away from the junior Marines, and a little more responsible for organizational management. Beyond just making sure your Marines are trained, making sure they're taken care of making sure they're showing up on time and doing their job, now you are responsible for really understanding organizational poli