Commentary

July 20, 2012

Outcomes successful when everyone knows ‘Big Picture’

by Chief Master Sgt. Bill Peck
56th Maintenance Group

When I enlisted in the Air Force 29 years ago, I didn’t really know my organization’s overall mission. At the time I didn’t understand what my leaders or the organization were trying to achieve. I was but one small cog in a large machine. I thought all I needed was to do what I was told, do a good job and all would be well.

But as time went by, I got promoted and could no longer just do what I was told. I now had to lead and manage people.

At first, I was simply passing along the things my bosses told me needed to get done. I began to realize that if I was going to be telling people what to do, I had better understand why I was telling them to do it. I needed to know and have a stake in my organization’s goals and understand how they fit into the bigger picture. I also needed to make my Airmen understand so they knew how their work contributed to the unit’s mission.

Back in 1991 while assigned to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., I was working on the flightline on a Friday night reconfiguring F-16s.

We had just downloaded the pods and bombs off the aircraft in preparation for the following week’s flying schedule. Just as we were finishing up and preparing to go home for the weekend, a call came in from Ops stating they needed all the pods and bombs back on the aircraft for Monday.

As you can imagine, we were not pleased. My supervisor headed off to Ops to fight the good fight but came back shortly and told us we had to reload the aircraft. Now he simply could have made us do it without telling us why, but he explained that there was a particular laser-guided bomb that had never been operationally tested with the LANTIRN targeting pod and that it was planned to be employed in Operation DESERT STORM shortly. Needless to say, we reloaded the aircraft, the test was successful and the bombs hit their targets.

Having the bigger picture made a huge difference in our attitudes on that long Friday night, and the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that came with knowing we directly contributed to the larger mission made it all worthwhile.

So think about that the next time you have to tell your Airmen to do a job that may not make sense to them. I’m not saying you have to explain every order or direction you give to them, but in those situations where it may not seem to pass the logic test, explaining why a task needs to be done and how it contributes to the overall mission can pay huge dividends in the attitudes and productivity of your people.

All of us contribute to the mission. Take the time to let your Airmen know how they fit into the “Big Picture.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

No man is an island Have you heard these words before? Maybe spoken them about yourself or another individual? Possibly you have read the John Donne prose found in Meditation 17, “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions,” or you’ve heard the song “No Man is an Island” by the band Tenth Avenue North. Perhaps you have tried...
 

 
entire_workbook

Fly Over: ‘Paddington’ and ‘Financial Peace University’

On DVD: ‘Paddington’ I have a confession to make — I do not have any children. There, I’ve said it. And yet, I have seen my fair share of family movies, from Disney and Pixar to classics like, “The Princess Bride.” ...
 
 
smith_d2

To do or to be? – A very good question

Col. Daniel Smith I am a huge fan of the Air Force core values. For a long time, I have felt that whatever board or individual developed the values got them absolutely right. In fact, every Airman, young or … seasoned, who co...
 
 
Top-3-Council

Airman — The Air Force asset

The most important asset to the Air Force is the Airman. Regardless of rank, Air Force specialty code, position, gender, age and experience, each of us still needs guidance, validation, and most of all, honesty. So how do you t...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>