Commentary

May 17, 2013

Never walk past a problem

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Mueller
92nd Mission Support Group

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — Sometimes the lessons we learn as children prove helpful to our careers.

My dad worked for a Fortune 100 company for many years. One day he told me how dozens of the company’s leadership had been fired because a low level employee sent a personal email using a company computer.

His company had a strong cultural ethos and believed if they paid you to work, you should be working and company resources are for company business.

It turned out a company vice president had seen the email and promptly fired every level of leadership between himself and the individual – who was also fired. They reasoned if the VP knew about the problem then lower level leadership knew and failed to act, or they weren’t monitoring their personnel properly.

The bottom line was they had no need for leaders who didn’t embrace company standards or walked past problems. This culture has helped the company completely dominate their industry sector much as the U.S. Air Force dominates globally.

The lesson to “Never walk past a problem” has stayed with me for more than 20 years. However, recently I’m finding this lesson from my dad even more important.

Lately, way too many people have been forecasting doom and gloom about how the Services will become a hollow force similar to the 1970s. The fiscal crisis may negatively affect the readiness of our equipment and our training but it is leadership which will determine whether our discipline resembles the discipline of the 1970s.

Discipline then was adversely affected by conscription and a society which condoned rampant drug use, but ultimately they became a hollow force because they walked past problems. For example, many unit leaders avoided entering barracks or visiting base clubs at night because they were afraid their subordinates would attack them. They stopped being a hollow force when true leaders faced their issues head on and stopped walking past their problems.

Senior officers and senior NCOs can’t walk past a problem. When we do, it gives the appearance that all senior officers and SNCOs believe some standards are not worth enforcing. This perception is not confined to only these ranks; it applies to all ranks and differs only by the scope of influence. A staff sergeant or lieutenant, who walks past a problem in their section, gives the appearance they will tolerate violations of some rules and that section’s Airmen will eventually believe they have the right to pick and choose what rules they follow.

During the coming fiscal constraints, make sure the U.S. Air Force remains the world’s most dominant military force and not a hollow force. I challenge you to be a leader who never walks past a problem.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Old Glory Challenge helps Nellis remember 9/11

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika Members of Nellis Air Force Base run with the U.S. flag during the Old Glory Challenge at Nellis AFB, Nev., Sept. 11. During the Old Glory Challenge, participants were charged wit...
 
 

Air Force revamps air expeditionary force construct

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force will deploy Agile Combat Support Airmen under its redesigned air expeditionary force construct October 1. The primary purpose of the redesign was to look at ways to deploy more ACS Airmen with their units and standardize dwell times across the Air Force as much as possible to present a...
 
 
suicideprevention

Suicide prevention: What you can do

http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/suicideprevention AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) — September 8 through 14 is National Suicide Prevention Week. However, many people are hesitant to get involved in the discussion on the topic...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed

FCC provides home away from home

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed Brittany Morrill, a Family Child Care provider, shows memory cards to Sam and Ayden in her home on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 9. FCC providers are given free access to c...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

Frag out! Airmen attend last Air Force-only grenade training class

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen Tech. Sgt. Preston Meier, 99th Ground Combat Training Squadron NCO in charge of combat arms, throws a live M-67 fragmentation grenade during the last iteration of the M...
 
 
volleyball

Intramural volleyball playoffs

Teammates from the 823rd Maintenance Squadron work together to block a spiked volleyball during the intramural volleyball playoffs at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 9. The intense 30-minute gam...
 




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