Commentary

May 2, 2014

Winning ways, culture lead to victory

Lt. Col. GREGORY COLEMAN
56th Medical Support Squadron

After several years of being unable to put the right pieces together, the Boston Red Sox figured it out. They developed a system, a strategy and a culture that led them back to victory. A shared vision between owner, general manager and manager resulted in the execution of their strategy and a new winning culture.

Geno Auriemma, head coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, has redefined success in basketball. He has amassed nine national titles, 15 final fours, and five perfect seasons to include back-to-back 39-0 seasons. What’s most impressive is 100 percent of his athletes graduate from college. Auriemma’s success is modeled very much after John Wooden, head coach of the UCLA Bruins 1948-1975, arguably the greatest basketball mind ever. Wooden was interested in developing the right environment to be successful and developing people, not just winning games. Both Auriemma and Wooden’s strategies work, because they created cultures that support and sustain success.

Those teams didn’t start off great; they had challenges to overcome in order to become successful. Changing a culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges there is. Culture is in essence an organization’s operating system. It is comprised of interlocking goals, roles, processes, values, attitudes and assumptions. Changing the culture isn’t as easy as identifying a new behavior you want articulated and saying “Go that way.” In sports, you will see a coach fired and a new, more of a disciplinarian-type, coach hired only for them to fail as well. One person can’t change a culture; they need help.

Success didn’t change the Huskies or the Bruins, because at the core of their culture the focus was always the system, and was not on winning or on individuals. In 2011, the Boston Red Sox team collapsed at the end of the season. The system and culture that had been cultivated and had produced three world series championships in 10 years became secondary. The new focus was on “winning.” In what seemed like an overnight change, they had in some respects become their antithesis – the New York Yankees.

As a member of the Air Force you are on a winning team with a winning culture. Our culture is tied to our storied history, a history that is intertwined with our vision and our strategy – Airmen caring for Airmen. The Air Force culture is one of high standards and values, and we articulate our culture through integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

Recently that culture has been tested internally and externally leading some to believe that our culture has changed. I assure you our culture is sound; it is intact.

I am reassured that our culture is intact because we have great leaders showing us the way. Leaders who stand up for what is right and defend the core of our mission – to fly, fight and win! I am reassured because we have Airmen, who hold themselves accountable, as well as those around them. We also have those who remain faithful to our proud heritage, tradition of honor and a legacy of valor. I am assured our Air Force will never falter from its purpose and will remain a guardian of freedom and justice. I know this because you are that wingman, leader, warrior, and Airman.




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


 
 

 
Tech. Sgt. Timothy Boyer

Construction plan supports F-35 program

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Boyer An Australian F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter prepares to launch Aug. 25 at Luke Air Force Base. Luke is scheduled to have 144 F-35s by 2024 with 11 countries training pilots and maintainers here...
 
 
frana_g

The Psychology of Leadership

Lt. Col. Gregory Frana When given the opportunity to lead, how do great leaders ensure people want to follow them? In the military it is sometimes the case that followers simply have to follow, but what makes people “want” ...
 
 

Refuse to fear change

Are you afraid of change? Most people are. Every day we experience change in our lives, and we certainly can’t hide from it. We learn and grow from changes; that’s what makes the world go around. With all of the Air Force and day-to-day life changes, learning to deal with change must be one of...
 

 
3_150818-F-LC301-007

Munition flight’s isolation strengthens unit

Senior Airman Christopher Bolling, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight precision guided missiles bay chief, and Eddie Hutton, 56th EMS Munitions Flight crew member, work on an air-to-air missile. The munitions ...
 
 

IN BRIEF

Stand up for vets The 3rd Annual Stand Up For Veterans event is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Glendale Community College Student Union. There will be employment opportunities, social services, legal services, free hair cuts for veterans, free lunch for vets and their families, and more. Vets can apply for healthcare and...
 
 
4_150810-F-LC301-003

Reservist lends hand

Master Sgt. Steven Joubert, 944th Detachment 1, is the first Air Reserve aircrew chief to hold a position within the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Unit since 2007 when the 944th Fighter Wing underwent changes in the base realignme...
 




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>