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Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader

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Developing Others

Daily Deliberation: 19 May 2018

I love this notion. Our society used to value character and I think it is something we should do once again. Character is something that is formed by doing the right things over and over again. There are no hacks or shortcuts, There is no get-rich quick scheme to being a person of character. We have to do the right things and respect others…can’t imagine anything worth more to society.

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The Culture Shift

Recently we had a member in our unit get submitted to compete for BTZ.  Typically if you think of BTZ winners, you think of them having unblemished records.  However this was not the case for our member.  She had a fitness failure when she first arrived at our location missing her sit up minimum by 2 sit ups.  She took the time to improve and recovered.  Her next two PT tests were over 90’s.  She is a top level performer and one of the best Airmen we have in the work center.

When it came time for her BTZ nomination, our Group Superintendent denied her to compete due to the PT failure.  However the Squadron still wanted to submit her based on her performance.  This became a topic of discussion amongst the SNCOs in the group.

We had SNCOs that stated she did not deserve to compete because she did not show “sustained superior performance” for the entire period being considered because of the PT failure and LOC from the SQ/CC.  We also had other SNCOs state that she should not be considered because it “wasn’t fair” that her member was denied the ability to compete because he also had an LOC in his record (his was for an alcohol related incident).

It is disheartening when you hear SNCOs agree that a culture shift needs to happen, but when it’s time to consider the entire package, they still get hung up on the “old way” of thinking, and don’t consider all of the facts.  The PT failure (a mistake, or bad day) is completely different than an alcohol related incident (breaking the law, in this case DUI), so that argument is a moot point.  And one mistake at one point in a career does not equate to a lack of sustained superior performance for a 3 year time frame.  It should also not disqualify a person that is otherwise a top performer, that has learned from their mistake and recovered.

Our people need honest feedback, and they need it to be clear and concise and in a manner that they understand.  If we are going to make a culture shift, and change the “broken system” that the majority thinks we have, then we as a whole have to be honest and stop doing the same things, and expecting different results.  We as leaders must look at the whole picture and not just focus on the one mistake, or negative instance.  Be objective, look at the individual and consider all the facts without a personal bias.

So what happened to our member?  Her package was submitted for BTZ consideration, and upon review of the Chiefs, she was selected to meet the face to face boards, (1/3) of the nominations met the face to face board for that quarter.  She did not make BTZ, however I have a renewed sense of faith in our leadership at the top, because she was selected to meet the board even though her record had a blemish that others may not have had.  That validated that she is, in fact a top performer and deserved the “opportunity” to compete for BTZ regardless of the blemish.  This tells me that the culture shift is happening at the top, and if we at the lower levels don’t get on board, we will become the problem that keeps the system broken.

Don’t be afraid to fight for the members that truly deserve it.  It should be the exception and not the rule, but far too many leaders do not do this in situations where they should.  Don’t be afraid of what others think.  In modeling this behavior, we will show Airmen that they CAN in fact recover from their mistakes.  Are you ready to help shift the culture, and help make the “one mistake” Air Force go away?

Daily Deliberation: 5 May 2018

Are you taking the time to celebrate life’s little victories? Robert D. Smith author of, 20,000 Days and Counting, advises us to celebrate our achievements and those of our teammates.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Daily Deliberation: 15 April 2018

The best leaders can take the most complex issues and simplify into terms that everyone can relate to. When faced with an issue, look at what the impacts of NOT solving it are and then paint that vision for your team. They will be able to solve a well defined problem if you give them the chance.

Daily Deliberation: 13 April 2018

I would love to hear your thoughts on this quote. I can see how an idea could incite action, but without action words are useless. Thoughts?

Daily Deliberation: 11 April 2018

We talk a lot about empowering and delegating; however, when the person makes a mistake, we are prone to step in and take over. Empowering another is giving them power to control that thing. When a mistake is made, coach, mentor, and hold them accountable. Don’t take the thing from them…they’ll never learn that way.

Chances are You’re Wrong…

It is becoming more and more apparent that we are losing our ability to think critically. We are more polarized in our beliefs than any other time I have seen. This leads to binary thinking and short term leadership.

Binary thinking is when we think there are only two options and ours is the only correct one. This was obvious during the election. You are either democrat or republican. If you disagree, you’re probably a moron. Then to top it off, there is a whole community of people online who think similarly and will agree. The problem is that there are ALWAYS other smaller options that can be created together and will have a long lasting effect that do not impact our core beliefs.

For example, the latest debate is over gun control. Immediately two sides arose. There are those who think guns need to be taken away and those who feel it is their constitutional right to have them. Both sides cling to a very emotional belief and gravitate towards others to confirm they are right. They become so focused on their ideals that they no longer are able to solve the issue. It is like religious beliefs. Telling others they are wrong does nothing except deepen their belief.

We have to stop attacking beliefs and seek other solutions. For example, those high-schoolers who are trying to get guns taken away will likely not succeed due to the complexity of overturning an amendment. True, it is good they are voicing their opinions; however, they could be using this platform to control something within their power. Something like encouraging others to treat outsiders with respect. The kids who shoot up a school and those active shooting a business are not the ones who feel like they are part of the tribe. Instead of judging kids for what shoes they are wearing, learn more about who they are.

Even if one side was able to tip the scales in their favor, the pendulum will eventually swing back the other way. We see this every time a new political party takes control of the government and the old regimes policies are overturned. It becomes a never ending cycle. We do the same thing in our organizations. Some leaders like certain things and when they take over change it to how they want it. Every two years I have to learn a new writing guide when the new wing king takes command. Then the next person reverses this decision. This goes back and forth.

This is short-sighted leadership. Instead of looking for the popular idea that you agree with and seeking those who agree; look for the small solutions that can make an impact. Like treating others students with respect or something else that could benefit others on your team. Don’t try to change a core belief it is not possible.

Daily Deliberation: 30 March 2018

It is scary to think of all the opportunities I have missed by “hoping” someone would do something for me. It took me 38 years to realize that we are all trying to succeed in our own way and no one is responsible for my future except me. Sure there are those great mentors who help and guide, but still the effort is our own. Don’t waste your time waiting for someone to hand you everything, go earn it.

Daily Deliberation: 24 March 2018

Good times make weak leaders. Weak leaders make bad times. Bad times make good leaders. Some of the times I have grown the most were when I was working for a bad boss. I did not like the way the team was treated and had to learn things on my own. Bad leaders made me better; however, when good leaders refuse to get comfortable, they take their teams to amazing places. Refuse to get comfortable when things are going well, look for ways to set up your team for the next challenge.

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