Why do "they" always win the awards?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Larry E. Simpson
  • 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron Det. 1
Doesn't it make you upset when you see the same people always winning awards, getting the recognition that you feel you deserve? So you ask yourself, "What can I do to improve my chances to make things better for me?" "How do I win these awards?"

There are several ways to be successful at getting the recognition you deserve. Henry Ford once said, "Don't find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain."

Well, in the Air Force, we stress the "whole person" concept. This concept generally covers three areas: leadership and job performance, self improvement and base and community involvement. Largely, each of us strives to execute our work the best we can. Let's begin to pave the way to your success by first discussing leadership and job performance.

Leadership and job performance acknowledges how well we do our job. For the most part, the Air Force as a whole accepts only the best people. You should strive to be the best at what you do. 

One way to do that is to develop or improve an existing process or program. What can you do that someone else didn't, couldn't or wouldn't do? Do something that is the benchmark, the Air Force standard or something innovative, new or simply the best of its kind. What ever you accomplish ask yourself; will it benefit the shop, the organization, the base, MAJCOM or affect the entire AF?" 

Change is good, especially when they're things that are wrong such as operating instructions, policies, etc. Self improvement will be greatly enhanced if you conquer leadership and job performance! 

Self improvement can come in many forms of personal and professional growth. For enlisted personnel, the Air Force recommends the completion of the Community College of the Air Force associates degree, especially before you are a SNCO. Officers are encouraged to complete their masters degree before they are a major. Taking college courses will add up to helping complete the degrees you seek which is definitely significant self improvement. You can also take a correspondence course, or college level tests such as CLEP or DANTES. Take an on-line course through the AF Portal IT E-learning. 

Other avenues of self improvement are; reading leadership and management books and volunteering to attend special course and seminars related to your profession. The key component of self improvement to reflect on is to be sure these things are related to making you a more productive member of the Air Force and a better person overall. Naturally self improvement and making yourself better should help you lead the way for base and community involvement.

Getting involved with the base and the community not only makes you feel good, but you are giving something back. The key to this area is making a difference in your squadron, the base, and the surrounding area. Becoming a member of the unit or base NCO or Airman's council is an excellent beginning. Organizing mock boards for the squadron or heading a mentorship program is paramount. Other ways to give back are to start a Habitat for Humanity program, an adopt-a-school program, or volunteering for key positions for special functions, such as dining-in or promotion ceremony. Become an active member of professional organizations similar to the Air Force Sergeants' Association, "Top-3", "Team 5 6", "First Four Airman's Council" or one related to your career. Involve yourself with your church or synagogue teaching classes or other programs. Don't just volunteer; take a position to show your leadership ability. The key is to set you apart from all others.

If you use this advice, you will get the awards and recognition you deserve! Having stated that, I think you can answer the question, "What can I do to improve my chances to make things better for me?" Remember, in the Air Force we stress the "whole person" concept which by and large covers three areas; leadership/job performance, self improvement and base/community involvement. Don't follow these things if you are just trying to fill a square or have an evaluation due. If so, you will not have the commitment to go along with what you need to do to be successful in life now or after the AF. Come on now, you can win too! Find those things that interest you and go for it.