Watchstanding Principles – As featured in Power Magazine

Periodically throughout the year, each of us at Fossil Consulting Services contributes a post to our blog.  This allows us to present information on topics we are interested in, providing a snapshot of information to those interested in this field.  To be honest, I had never even thought of writing a blog before I started working for FCS.  When I was told about the blog, I was quite intimidated.  I’ve written technical documents, procedures, college papers, but a blog?

The Topic Reveals Itself

In the summer of 2020, I was talking to some colleagues about leadership, the challenges of running any organization, and the qualities found in successful organizations.  The group of friends was diverse; Military, fire department, emergency medical services, automotive, a school principal, and even a church pastor.  I brought up the nuclear Navy’s fundamental principles, and we had a long discussion about how effective they were and what key roles leaders played in making the watchstanding principles work. After our discussion, I decided to write about it for our blog.

The original intent was to summarize the principles and the ways I have seen them work and fail. As I started laying out my thoughts, I quickly realized one blog would not be enough to cover the topic. I decided I would make it a blog series, and the first one, Watchstanding  Principles Part 1: Focus on the Basics, was posted in July. This first blog focused on Ownership, my personal favorite, and the principle I found to be the cornerstone of success during my time serving on and inspecting ships.

After writing the blog on Ownership I began to struggle breaking up the topic into blogs. I couldn’t seem to find a way to my point across in such a short format. You see, the Watchstanding Principles don’t work alone. Like most powerplant systems, they work together to make the system work. Each principle is connected to the other principles, and in my experience, they had to work together to be effective. I felt that without telling the whole story, I would be selling the reader short. James Wiggins suggested I write an article about it and present it that way. If I was intimidated by the idea of writing a blog, you could imagine how intimidated I was by writing an article!

Overcoming My Fear

Despite my doubts, I set out to put my thoughts on paper. To my surprise, I easily ended up with a few pages of discussion of the Watchstanding Principles, and what I’ve seen work and fail.  I asked a few of my mentors to read it and provide feedback, and the suggestion was made that I submit it to a magazine. James suggested Power Magazine, and I contacted them to see if they were interested. To my delight, they were and offered me a spot in the January issue.

Read on Power Magazine

The magazine only had a two-page section available for the article, and I couldn’t quite make it fit, so the article is divided into two pieces. Part I is featured in the January 2021 issue of Power Magazine.  Part II is available on their website.  I hope you enjoy the article as it provides some useful insights that will improve your operations, regardless of the type of organization you are with and the role you play there.  They are truly universal and highly effective. To find out how Fossil Consulting Services can help you and your organization, visit us at