Commentary

June 27, 2014

Culture change requires new way to think

Capt. AJ ZORN
56th Civil Engineer Squadron

The racist comments made by Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, shocked the nation and were met with extreme displeasure by most Americans.

Though the details can be heavily debated, it’s safe to say that most Airmen believe the comments were inappropriate for one reason or another. In the infamous recording, Mr. Sterling tries to explain why he has the views he does. He blames it on the culture he was raised in. Though many find that excuse lacking, I believe we use that same excuse in our Air Force on a regular basis.

Over the last couple of years, the culture of the Air Force and the military in general has been heavily scrutinized. Serious issues, such as sexual assault and cheating, have grabbed the headlines and the attention of the public.

There are many behaviors that happen in the Air Force that are written off for reasons such as “That’s the way those guys are,” “It’s in our blood,” or “We’ve always done it this way.”

Really? Are we OK with that explanation? Or is it that it’s simply an easy answer to give rather than dealing with an issue head-on? If we’re honest about it, it may mean that we have to do more work and change things that we’ve become comfortable with.

I think the biggest fallacy that must be dispelled is the idea that your job “requires it.” I’ve heard certain groups justify their behavior because they “have to keep an edge,” “deal with life and death,” or “operate as a family.”

Where in any of those explanations do derragotary comments or degrading behavior actually help? Are we so blinded by the way we’ve always done things that we believe these actions continue to help the mission get accomplished? I recognize that our military is rich in tradition, but using that as a default justification for unacceptable actions can be a dangerous practice.

For example, there was a time that women weren’t allowed in the military, and before that, African-Americans. Thankfully, that time in history is just that – history and no longer true.

A destructive culture can hurt you in two ways.

First, you hurt the members of your own team. Maybe you’re personally OK with an off-colored joke every now and then, but it’s not OK when you introduce it to the work place and force it on others. It sounds cliché, but ask yourself, “Would I want my wife, son or daughter to hear this? Is this the kind of environment I’d want them to work in?” If the answer is no, perhaps you should address it.

Second, it forces the chain of command to waste time on the consequences of behavior rather than the mission. Believing that a negative culture has no consequences is naïve.

So ask yourself, “Does my job really need this? Will this make my work center function better?” You’ll likely find that some behaviors are based more on preference than need. This is a question that must be answered at every level of leadership. If we don’t, we’re only limiting ourselves.




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


 
 

 
Samuel Price

RMO, stakeholders keep eye on sky

Samuel Price The road used to get onto the Barry M. Goldwater Range lies beneath the running water July 9, 2014, that resulted from monsoon rains. With data from the additional recently installed weather stations, personnel wil...
 
 

Resource management — Doing more with less

Since I joined the Air Force in 1992, our manpower and resources have been gradually reduced with no obvious change to the mission we support. While this has been labeled “doing more with less,” I don’t believe we’re truly doing any more than we did when I entered the military 22 years ago. We seem...
 
 

Situational awareness

Throughout my career, the importance of situational awareness has been driven into my head. This became exceedingly clear to me when I landed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. It was March 17, 2003, about 48 hours until Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. We were busy building tents, making bunkers and preparing to execute the mission. Doing...
 

 

Air Force OSI agents prevent online exploitation of children

QUANTICO, Va. — Child sex crimes are not unique to any particular base but are a perpetual problem across the Air Force and society. Online exploitation of children continues to be a problem and is routinely investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. As part of this effort, AFOSI field units have partnered...
 
 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

MDG appointment line upgrade Patients calling the 56th Medical Group at 623-856-2273 Wednesday afternoon to schedule an appointment may reach a busy signal and may have to call back if all booking agents are on the line with other callers. The queue function allowing patients to wait on hold for the next available booking agent...
 
 

Airmen get T-bolts to give blood, win award

Tech. Sgt. Alisa Frisch, 56th Medical Group unit training manager, and Capt. Sharlott Uriarte, 56th Medical Support Squadron, were among the top 3 percent of award-winning blood drive coordinators recently honored by United Blood Services, earning a Hero Award for providing the largest impact on the blood supply. Of the 1,080 organizations that sponsored blood...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin