Air Force

November 30, 2012

Leaders avoid holding to bad decisions

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Lt. Col. JAMES BLACKMAN
56th Component Maintenance Squadron

Don’t let YOU get in the way of YOU making the right decision, because … it’s not about YOU!

What do I mean by this? Have you ever knowingly stuck with a bad decision because you made the decision? Or struggled over a decision worrying about what others will think of you?

Everyone has decisions to make. All ranks from airman basic to general officer make decisions every day — both on and off duty — it’s part of the job and part of being in the military. If you’re not making decisions that are commensurate with your rank and responsibility level, then you’re messing up.


Our core value of excellence in all we do rightly causes us to be passionate about our work and the decisions we make as we strive for excellence; that’s good. But, if you allow your personal connection to a decision overwhelm your ability to make the right decision; then again, you’re messing up.

Considering we are professional Airmen serving our nation and the public, our motivation for day-to-day decisions should not simply be one of personal ambition. Rather, it should be a motivation and ambition to personally move the organization forward regardless of who makes the decision. Service occupations by nature, and particularly the military service, means we have sacrificed some personal ambition because of a strong belief in being part of something much larger than any of us.

The constant movement of personnel is an essential part of the military organization, because the organization cannot be solely dependent on any one individual. As individuals great and small come and go, the organization must remain; and not just remain, but remain strong. This reality should reinforce that the drive for organizational achievement is a higher goal than the drive for personal achievement. This diversity helps the organization remain strong as it brings into the organization differing views which may call your decisions into question. When we stick with a bad decision because we made it even though there are opposing views we are not putting the organization’s achievements above our own.

We have inherited a well respected professional military, and it’s our duty to uphold those characteristics that have made it so. I believe one of those characteristics is a long tradition of living out the core value of service before self in the decisions we make each and every day. So next time you are indecisive or unwilling to reconsider a decision you’ve made, stop, reflect and make sure you’re not the problem … it’s not about you.




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