Don't stall on the 'all'

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFNS) -- "Excellence in all we do" it's one of our Air Force core values. Along with integrity first and service before self, it is intended to guide every one of our actions whether we're in the cockpit, on the flightline, at the military personnel flight counter or in a medical clinic.

In my more than 15 years of Air Force service, I have frequently heard about the challenges of "doing more with less" and "being resource constrained." So what has that meant? It has meant that each and every day our amazing Airmen have stepped up to the plate and given it their best, despite being tasked with more missions and unfortunately not always being afforded the optimal training or tools for success.

Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century, or more commonly known as AFSO21, is designed to improve our operating environment. AFSO21 is a mindset shift with a focus of eliminating non-value added processes. When appropriately employed, it is intended to equip Airmen to identify areas where savings can be realized. But, will it alone ensure that we achieve excellence in all we do? The answer, of course, is no.

The truth is there has always been more work than there have been resources. It has been said, "Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life."

And so it is with doing more with less. There are always competing interests and priorities. Ultimately for those of us blessed with the opportunity to serve as part of the world's greatest air, space, and cyberspace force, embodying excellence in all we do requires that we respond with the right attitude and take a hard look at what all it is that we do.

That's where leadership comes in! It is the duty of each of us as Airmen, and especially those who have been placed in positions of authority, to identify what can be done with excellence and what cannot. If it cannot, then it's time to take it up the chain. Indeed, to do anything less would be to undermine our core values. Just as an aircraft stalls when it is nose-high and slow, if we raise our nose while the unit is dragging down, we subject ourselves to the possibility of losing our air worthiness.

Do you see or hear a warning buzzer? If so, call a timeout, clarify priorities, and make sure that we don't stall on the "all."