Striving for All Types of Excellence

  • Published
  • By Col. Sidney Martin
  • 127th Medical Group
I chose my favorite of the Air Force's core values as the topic for this month's article. My all time favorite is excellence in all you do. I think that it is my favorite because adherence to this one core value means that many other problems will take care of themselves. I challenge each of you to spend time deciding on your own core values there don't have to be three but what we all most do is decide for ourselves what we stand for. There is a country song that has a line in the lyrics that goes something like this, "you've got to stand for something or you will fall for anything". In these troubling times I challenge you all to figure out what you stand for and part of that I hope will entail a commitment to personal excellence.

Companies, Wings, Groups and Squadrons are not excellent. Organizations are only the reflection of the personal character of the individuals that comprise them. Excellent people make the organizations for which they work excellent. When excellence becomes the norm then indeed the organizational culture will push its members to perform to higher levels. Organizations are not just excellent the people in them make them that way. I found this excerpt on excellence to be one of the best I have ever read.

Excellence in All We Do
The power of excellence is overwhelming. It is always in demand and nobody cares about its color.
--General Daniel S. "Chappie" James Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command, 1975-1977

This core value demands Airmen constantly strive to perform at their best. They should always strive to exceed standards objectively based on mission needs. This demands a continuous search for new and innovative ways of accomplishing the mission. There are several aspects of excellence: personal, organizational, resource, and operational.

· Personal Excellence. Airmen seek out and complete developmental education, stay in top physical, mental, and moral shape, and continue to refresh their professional competencies. Airmen must ensure their job skills, knowledge, and personal readiness are always at their peak.

· Organizational Excellence. Organizational excellence is achieved when its members work together to successfully reach a common goal in an atmosphere that preserves individual self-worth. No Airman wins the fight alone--even the single-seat fighter pilot relies upon scores of maintenance and support personnel to accomplish every sortie. Leaders foster a culture that emphasizes a team mentality while maintaining high standards and accomplishing the mission.

· Resource Excellence. Understanding that budgets are not limitless, Air Force leaders aggressively protect and manage both human and material resources. The most precious resource is people, and an effective leader does everything to ensure all personnel are trained, fit, focused, and ready to accomplish their missions. Leaders effectively use their resources to perform assigned tasks and understand they should only obtain resources necessary to accomplish their missions.

· Operational Excellence. The Air Force leader understands that all efforts in developing and employing air and space forces are directed at providing unmatched air and space power to secure the national interests of the United States. Airmen should prepare for joint and multinational operations by learning the doctrine, capabilities, and procedures of other US Services and allied forces.

The Air Force recognizes these core values as universal and unchanging in the profession of arms. They provide the standards with which to evaluate the ethical climate of all Air Force organizations. Finally, when needed in the cauldron of war, they are the beacons vectoring the individual along the path of professional conduct and the highest ideals of integrity, service, and excellence.

Excellence is at the very core of it all. Often the thought will creep in that this is not an important piece of the puzzle that this really does not matter and we therefore give it less than our best. I challenge you all to give it your best every time in all that you do.