Commentary

March 22, 2013

Micro to macro – What’s the smallest thing you care about?

Lt. Col. KURT KOCHENDARFER
56th Operations Group

What’s the smallest thing you care about in your job here at Luke Air Force Base?

Many times in our work centers the “big things” have a way of prioritizing themselves, at least at first glance. Regardless of your work center, you know what the big things are. You are probably ticking them off in your head right now. You might even have a pretty good idea of what the “slightly smaller things” are … those that fall below the importance of the big things, but still play a major part in your work flows.

If you’re really at the top of your game, you probably feel like you even have a pretty good grasp of the “small things” in your work center. These are the things that fill in the gaps, can be done on a time-permitting basis, and would generally be qualified as “nice-to-haves” in your regular routine.

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What is the smallest thing I still care about in my day-to-day routine?”

When you walk toward the work center in the morning, do you just walk past that small piece of trash blown into the cactus during the windstorm last night, or do you go out of your way to pick it up because you have pride in where you work and want the front of your building to reflect that?

When you walk down the hall in your building do you even notice if there are dust balls accumulating in the corners since the cleaning contract expired, or do you go find a broom and bring the shop back into standards without anyone having to tell you?

They seem like small things, but they reflect something much bigger. If you don’t care about the small details in something as simple as keeping the hallway clean, how can your coworkers, supervisor, officer-in-charge or commander be sure you care about the details of something far more important?

Many times in our day-to-day routine we let things slide. Maybe it’s because we’re tired. Maybe it’s because we feel undermanned and overtasked. If an Airman you respect saw you letting a task slide, would they respect you less? Would they think you’re lazy? What you let slide in your work center says volumes to those on the outside looking in.

Have you ever worked in a place where even the smallest details were attended to? If so, I’ll bet it’s a place where you enjoyed working tremendously.

My challenge to you is to transform your work center into that place, if it’s not already there. If you think it is, take another look around. You may have missed something!

Lower the bar, for once … and by that I mean lower the threshold at which you accept letting the small things slide. Challenge yourself. Be the transformation example for those working around you. It will surprise you how quickly others will follow your lead, and I guarantee you will love the result.




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