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Necessary Conversations


What Are Necessary Conversations?​

Necessary Conversations enable discussion on difficult issues that manifest in society, the Navy, or the command, such as sexism, racism, or other divisive complexities. Being boldly transparent and self-aware builds combat teams ready for any contingency, in any domain. ​

In order to achieve warfighting excellence, we must trust one another. Necessary Conversations build trust by allowing all to understand the perspective of their collective team, increasing inclusion and connectedness. ​

What Are Necessary Conversations Not?​

Captain's Call / All-Hands​

While both are a platform to exchange information that impacts mission readiness, CO’s calls are typically unidirectional and conclude by leaders providing impromptu answers in open forums, while Necessary Conversations encourage multidirectional dialogue without solution-based expectations.​

CMEO Informal Resolution System (IRS) or EEO Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)​

While both IRSs and ADRs, as well as Necessary Conversations involve dialogue to address various behaviors and emphasize understanding and empathy over punitive measure, IRS/ADR processes focus on specific behaviors that may require legal action. Necessary Conversations should never be used in lieu of EO policy.​

Focus Group​

While Focus Groups and Necessary Conversations are a means to gauge organizational morale, Focus Groups are formalized for qualitative data collection to drive formal, research-based decisions. ​

Get Real, Get Better (GRGB) Working Groups​

While both allow teams to share collective wisdom for strategic warfighting advantage, GRGB focuses on solving problems; Necessary Conversations bridge cultural gaps. ​

Learn More…​

Who Should Have Them?​

Necessary Conversations should happen at every command, at every level. Anyone can request or lead one. While some may be more comfortable having Necessary Conversations during everyday interaction, NCs are valuable for those who are less comfortable navigating contemporary challenges.​

When Should They Occur?​

  • Scheduled. Ideally, Necessary Conversations are scheduled and deliberate to ensure time and space is dedicated to the topic, but don't avoid an impromptu conversation; it might be exactly what someone needs.​

  • Unscheduled.  The only wrong way to have a Necessary Conversation is to not have one at all. Perfect timing should never prevent having them. Address divisive remarks or behavior – which can arise from anyone at any time – promptly, and with dignity and respect.​​

Where Should They Happen?​

Necessary Conversation skills are versatile, suitable for various settings from the mess decks to a run with a shipmate. However, for the most effective and inclusive dialogue, choose a location that promotes concentration and comfort, free from distractions. Ideal spaces ensure a neutral and engaging environment for all, such as a ready room or conference space.​​


How are your Necessary Conversations going?


Resource Hub ​

Necessary Conversations Guide​

Version 1.0 | July 22, 2020
View Guide: Focuses on fostering open dialogues on race relations and diversity.​

Version 2.1 | March 10, 2022​
View Guide and Quick Guide: Leadership listening guide for creating an inclusive environment and detailed strategies for facilitating diverse conversations.​


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