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 Senior Airman Timothy Young

Chaplains help build relationships

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Timothy Young Chaplain (Capt.) Jason Klodnicki, a 99th Air Base Wing chaplain, helps coworkers find a solution to their problems during a counseling session at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., ...
 
 

New commander addresses Airmen of 12th Air Force

To all of the 12th Air Force community, Happy holidays! My wife Kristan, my three children, and I are excited to join this outstanding 12th Air Force community. I cannot adequately express how honored and humbled I feel to join this community as the commander. I certainly appreciate the exceptional efforts of General and Mrs....
 
 

Saving energy to save money

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — One million dollars is a large sum of money. That is the amount Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases consume in electricity annually. One quarter of that energy is supplemented by renewable energy gathered by the solar field, said Jeffrey Blazi, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron energy program manager. “We...
 

 

‘Tis the season to drink responsibly

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — It’s that time of year when holiday parties and late night celebrations begin to fill our calendars and we look forward to spending time with family and friends to celebrate our own special reasons for the season. Every Christmas Eve, I celebrate my life and I give thanks for...
 
 

Asking for help is sign of strength not weakness

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Growing up I was a big fan of Muhammad Ali. He was the world heavyweight boxing champion and unashamedly referred to himself as “The Greatest.” I vividly remember a reporter asking Ali, “When did you know that you were ‘The Greatest?’” Before Ali could answer, the reporter offered, “Perhaps...
 
 
giftcard

Things to know about gift cards

Courtesy photo NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Many gifts exchange hands during the holiday season. One of the most popular, easiest and convenient of gifts is the gift card. Almost every store offers gift cards for their prod...
 




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