From good to great - Air Force style

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Chuck Gruver
  • 190th Human Resource Advisor

As noted in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, we can find pockets of greatness in nearly every difficult environment. 

Every unit, section, squadron and flight has its unique set of difficult constraints, yet some make the leap to greatness while others facing the same environmental challenges do not. 

This is perhaps the single most important point in all of Good to Great. Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline. 

The great units focus on finding and retaining the right people in the first place--those who are productively neurotic, self-motivated, self-disciplined, and compulsively driven to do the best they can because it is simply part of their DNA. 

The soldier and statesman, retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell wrote, "Organization doesn't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything either. Theories of management don't much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds." 

The Air National Guard's greatest resource is our Airmen. Some of you may consider this statement the "company line," while others may have worked side by side with an Airman that has inspired, encouraged and challenged you. Know without a doubt that Airmen are our greatest resource. Airmen have not just contributed to the mission, they make the mission happen. 

The historical list of noble, heroic and impressive acts by Airmen is endless. Today's Airmen are no different than those who have previously served. Airmen continue to be a remarkable force in the war on terrorism. America's footprint has been embedded in the soils of Iraq and Afghanistan because of the great deeds our Airmen accomplished. Today's Airmen are making their own history. No plan or abstract theory accomplished all these great deeds -- it was our Airmen being great! 

How do we continue to attract Airmen who will deploy at a moment's notice, miss their first wedding anniversary, the celebration of their children's birthdays and will spend Christmas sitting on a mountain in Afghanistan? How do we continue to attract the best Airmen to accomplish great deeds? 

First we set the example by serving with honor and accepting no less than excellence from any Airman. Secondly, we continue doing what we are doing -- being the greatest Air Force in the world.