Excellence: Why say no, say yes

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jason Mitchell
  • 52nd Component Maintenance Squadron Commander
When I took command several months ago, many folks asked what my strategic vision for my squadron was. I simply stated, "Focus on the core values every day." 

It may sound easy, but it takes a constant effort. 

Since I was a second lieutenant, I have always been told that we need more money or more people. Many of the NCOs who I initially served with were Cold War veterans who remembered a unique time in our Air Force history when we had tons of people and a massive defense budget. I do not see that happening again; so it is important now, more than ever, that we use our current resources to the best of our ability. Every Airman is critically important. 

This is where the core value "Excellence in All We Do" comes into play. 

How many times have you visited an office and been turned away with, "I am sorry. I can't help you." Or, "So-and-so is not here today. You will have to come back later." Or a quick, "I don't know?" 

This type of mentality degrades our mission and wastes valuable manpower. If you don't know an answer make a phone call, pull up the Air Force Instruction or tell the person you will get back to them with the answer, and follow up with a thorough response as soon as possible. 

We should all embrace this "make it happen" attitude. I am not talking about violating Air Force instructions or technical orders by blindly going about your day saying "yes" to everything. I am referring to excellence and a can-do attitude with a solution-based mindset. 

Every organization on base has a customer. Who are your customers? For my squadron, our customers extend to Aviano Air Base, NATO allies, Central Command Area of Operations and other squadrons on base. We are all customer service representatives. 

Are you doing all you can to help your customer by saying "Yes I can" instead of "No, I can't?" 

When I was a flightline maintenance officer, a staff sergeant who worked for me as a KC-135 Stratotanker crew chief didn't have "no" in his vocabulary. I would present him with what seemed like an impossible task, and he would quickly come up with a plan, gather the required resources and make it happen. It was not only amazing to watch, but his positive can-do attitude was also infectious throughout the entire organization. 

Excellence extends beyond customer service. It is not only a core value, but also a lifestyle. When you see a wingman in need of assistance, do you lend a hand or do you turn a blind eye? 

When you attend unit physical training, do you go all out for the session, putting forth your best effort? Or do you simply go through the motions hoping the time will pass quickly? It is a fitness excellence mindset that will get you through challenging changes in the Air Force physical fitness program that are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. 

It is "Excellence in All We Do" that sets us apart from every other air force, making our Air Force the best in the world. Be bold, go all out and make a difference. It is not only a mission enhancer, but also personally rewarding. 

When you demonstrate excellence in all you do with a positive attitude and assist your customer or fellow wingman to the best of your ability, you just enhanced the mission.