Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader



Daily Deliberation: 17 August 2017

Do you agree that respect is earned? When I first started my career, I thought this was true on an individual level. For example, “he takes care of his people, he has earned my respect.” However, if you think about it, there are two different types of respect. We respect people out of fear for their position or respect them for the quality of their character. If the wing commander was the biggest jerk on the planet, we might not respect his character, but we would still follow his lawful orders out of fear for his position. Respect is always there.

Daily Deliberation: 16 August 2017

This is one of the biggest complaints I have ever heard about those of us with rank. “SNCOs look good because we work hard for them and then they forget all about us.” This kills me to think I may have given that impression and I work really hard to never do that. We are a team that needs everyone on it to be successful. Those doing the work make the mission happen. Those of us with rank are there because we have more experience and the ability to see the obstacles coming up and move them before the team gets there. People are not on our teams to service our desires…we serve each other to lift each other.

Daily Deliberation: 15 August 2017

I can still remember the day I defined my “why”. Throughout my whole life I have been a student of leadership and have had a passion for teaching others. I tried different variations of these two and had a great time, but it wasn’t until I married the two that I felt the fire. I started this site and will be working with civilians soon with this underlying purpose: “to serve others through mentorship so they can learn from my successes and failures and get at least one step further than I have.” What drives you each day? Not sure, feel free to connect with me and I would love to help you figure it out.

Daily Deliberation: 13 August 2017

Have you ever thought you weren’t good enough to do something? When you thought that, it probably crippled you with fear to try something new. I know I feel that way all the time, especially with trying to start a media company. “Who am I to think others want to read my posts or listen to my podcast?” Instead we need to stop worrying about all the people who might not like it; rather, worry about adding value to the one who will learn from us. If we can help just one other person get a little further along in life, I think that is pretty amazing.

Daily Deliberation: 6 August 2017

I love this concept about failing. We all fail. It is ok to fail. We look at failure as something terrible and as if we are losers. Failure means we tried something and fell short…that is it. Now, the important thing is what was learned from that failure to make us better for the next time. We have to ask what went wrong and how can we prepare for it better the next time around. Failure is merely feedback, it is not the end of the road.

Daily Deliberation: 2 August 2017

So this seemingly contradicts my Daily Deliberation from yesterday; however, it really doesn’t. Yesterday was about reclaiming wasted time used on pointless endeavors. This is advice from Lennon is about “wasting” time on something you are passionate about. For example, time spent on learning guitar or reading a book are not wasted. Even though they may be hobbies, they are still nurturing your soul. There is a difference between laughing at YouTube cat videos and something that fuels your spirit.

Forced Distribution works… kinda.

There are a number of ways to increase your chances of advancement in today’s Air Force. Taking the time and memorizing the Professional Development Guide is one way, maxing out decoration points is another and finally; being selected as a “Must Promote or Promote Now” via Forced Distribution increases your chances as well. This is especially true for the ranks Senior Airmen through Technical Sergeant.

The question isn’t “Why are we racking and stacking E-4s as if they were headed to the E-7 boards?” Although it may superficially seems so…

The question is “What can I do to increase my odds of moving up?”

While it may seem like a crap-shoot for a higher Forced Distribution rating, there are ways to make you more competitive vs. your peers. Hence the title of this blog. There are a number of Airmen who self eliminate by not competing well. Here’s some helpful tips to aid you in your quest:

1. Lead… everything. Upcoming project? Ask to lead it if you can. No volunteers for a base function? Lead it.  Airmen’s Council, 5/6 or Top 3 needs a effort lead?  Jump on it like it’s on fire.

2. Be better at your job than your rank requires you to be.  Just don’t be a jerk about it.  If you just said “that’s not me” in your head, it’s probably you.  Just sayin’

3. Embrace reality.  Everyone thinks they are great. Just look at the EPR’s of your supervisors. It’s like someone photocopied ratings that once stood, and made a book out of them. With that said, know that in reality most people are not truly among the best, but can certainly strive to be. Judge yourself vs. your peers rather than your ego.

4. Awards. Don’t fool yourself and think that awards via achievement or awards for performance mean nothing.  And telling yourself that these things are for “woodchuckers” and people who don’t do their job is a very shallow way of thinking. It’s one of the best ways for people who are reviewing your record, that your leadership endorses you.

5. Continued Education. Whether it’s a CCAF, B.S/A. or a Certification, the Air Force promotes you getting your education on. Even as recently as the CMSAF announcing that PDUs (Professional Development Units) are going to be a reality.  Plus it adds to your resume once your service is done.

6. Testing.  We’ve seen the numbers. Folks with low decoration points and a “Promote” statement get promoted like everyone else. But taking the time to score a 75 or higher usually ends up in being selected for advancement. Period.

7. Find a mentor.  Walking through life without direction seldomly gets you to the finish line in a timely manner. Find someone who’s been there and latch on for dear life. When it’s said and done, do the same for someone younger than you.


8. Followership. Making rank in the military is comparable to playing chess. If advancement is in your goal plan, then it’s a long game that you’re setting yourself up for. I’ve always found that if you are making sure that your supervisor is being taken care of, they will take care of you. And no good leader ever made it to the top without understanding what followership means.

The chips may land where they do, but make sure that the odds are in your favor by doing what’s needed to compete on a level playing field.





Daily Deliberation: 28 July 2017

“I am way to busy to get to that today.” This is something we all say a lot. We can’t perceive taking 15 minutes from our crazy schedules for something else. However, if our car broke down on the way into work, we would find a way to get that towed and fixed. This process may take hours and yet we find the time. Why? Because it became a priority. We ALWAYS find time to take of the things we make a priority. Those little fires that pop up where we drop everything to go and handle are our organization’s way of setting new priorities for us. It is not that you don’t have enough time, it is simply not a priority for you.

Daily Deliberation: 27 July 2017

Why are the things that make us better so hard to do? Getting a gym routine in motion, changing our diet, stop chugging sodas, read more, etc. take major amounts of will power even though we know they are the right things to do. Making decisions as a leader often are very difficult too. Even though they are the best choices for the unit or the person, we struggle because we fear the backlash or loss in social capital. However, in the long run tough decisions always feel better. I feel better after a workout or when I am eating healthy and my team feels better when I have the courage to do what is right. Are you facing a tough decision?

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