It takes ALL of us!

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. David Martin
  • 36th Wing Medical Group
We've all heard the clichés, "Work smarter, not harder", and "Do more with less". They have become such a large part of our daily lives that, eventually, we tune people out when they use them. But, have we ever really considered why these phrases continue to be a part of our Air Force lives? Our leadership does not want us to focus entirely on the fact that our overall totals of manpower and funds have been lessened without a significant decrease in mission requirements. Our leaders want us to focus more on how to accomplish the Air Force mission while not increasing the stress levels of our professional Airmen. Luckily, there is a simple and easy way to do this! We need to concentrate on maximizing the potential of the highly trained Airmen we have, which can happen through encouraging teamwork and cooperation. The acronym, TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) explains this idea perfectly!

Together: Working as a synergistic unit requires that each Total Force member be on the same page when tackling the mission. Without clear guidance and instruction, how can teams funnel their energies toward the same goal? We must be sure that each member knows and understands the mission and the standards that guide and allow us to meet the Air Force's needs. Achieving a total buy-in from all parties happens by allowing people to express their thoughts and ideas and feel like they are a part of the team. Without this, people will become part of the problem, not the solution. We all want to feel needed and valued, and true leaders listen to their teammates. Great ideas can come from anyone; we just need to be willing to accept that sometimes one person does not have all the answers. That's where our strength as a diverse Air Force comes into play.

Everyone: The Air Force has the most diverse team in its history! Airmen come from all walks of life, many nationalities, races, religions and educational backgrounds. Leaders must embrace this cultural diversity and exploit it to the fullest. Inclusion of all leads to acceptance and respect of our Total Force members. People who have differing backgrounds can offer unique perspectives and ideas on how to solve our issues. It is up to each and every Airman to open his eyes and ears to experience the opportunities that are out there. The Air Force cannot be a true team until cultural diversity is not only accepted, but embraced and utilized to the fullest degree. It only takes one rotten apple to ruin the entire bushel and our ability to work as a team and succeed is conditional upon including everyone in achieving our objectives.

Achieves: We are a results-driven Air Force. The expectations to produce and accomplish the mission drives everything we do, but to whom do we owe our successes? Name one person who is able to do their job all by themselves. From the wing commander down to the newest airman basic, we all count on each member of our team to achieve success. Have you ever been to an awards ceremony where the honoree says, "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank myself for this award? I couldn't have done it without me?" Of course not! Any team that has success relies on each member, from the smallest flight to the entire Air Force. Mission accomplishment means that all Airmen are driving towards the same goal, at the same speed and with the desire to not only do the job, but to continually improve on what we do.

More: One of my favorite sayings comes from my high school basketball coach who always told us, "When you're through improving, you're through!" What he meant was that our team needed to always strive to get better, each and every day, in all areas. We can't afford to be stagnant in our ability and desire to complete the mission. The Air Force prides itself on being the most cutting edge and innovative branch of service. Don't be afraid to ask yourself every day, "What did I do today to get better at my job?" If we improve as individuals and share with others what we did, the team then becomes stronger and more effective. Always strive to make yourself a better Airman, both personally and professionally! We all win when you do!

When you think about it, "Do more with less" is a lot of nonsense, not to mention impossible! When Airmen combine their talents and abilities in an effort to complete the mission, they are actually doing more with more! The sum is always greater than the individual parts. The team concept is something the Air Force relies on to get the job done. So remember, Together Everyone Achieves More! Embrace the diversity the members of your team bring, listen to their ideas, work toward the common goals and always strive to improve. If we do these simple things, we can become the Air Force that America demands and needs!