As a squadron commander, one of my favorite times of the month was our monthly Maverick’s Calls (most might call it a Commander’s Call). This was the time where we recognized our promotees for the month, award winners and if I could find a reason to recognize someone for something they did, I would, and I’d give them a squadron pen. Then Covid came around and I couldn’t do these for awhile…February 2020 I had performed my last one. As my time to retire and pass the squadron to the next commander came I decided I wanted one last time to recognize our folks, say goodbye to the squadron and have a small Maverick’s Call with just those receiving recognition…and yes, we followed all safety protocol. This all happened around mid-June 2020.

The big day arrived, and the table with all the awards and trophies was prepared…a lot of hard work went into it. About mid-way through presentations, and it all happened so fast, I leaned on the “fold-away” table, the platform flipped and everything toppled to the floor. What did we do? We had a good laugh and continued. Some wanted their photo with the broken trophy, others were so destroyed we used a good trophy and covered the name…but we got through it. We replaced the trophies that needed replaced by the way.

The point of this wasn’t to prove I was clumsy and had a bad day. It was that the culture we created was one where mistakes didn’t equal the end of the world…they can be fixed. Have fun at your job, have fun with your people and just remember to recognize them. I’m sure there are trophies standing that are missing an eagle’s wing still today and folks will share that story…and I hope laugh. Now, I’m not encouraging you to go around breaking people’s awards…but think about the culture you are leaving behind. If it brings a smile to your face, you probably did something right đŸ™‚

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