Finding your place in the big picture

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brian E. Ferguson
  • Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga
Why are you here; why do you serve? Sometimes it’s easy to lose focus of the big picture and the reasons we serve. We have many ancillary requirements, or terms of employment, laid upon us: numerous CBTs, MICT checklists, processing orders for pay and completing travel vouchers in DTS, remaining medically current and qualified, maintaining a fitness level to pass fitness test, additional duties, Wingman and SAPR training, and the list goes on. Of course, it’s incumbent upon us, as Citizen Airmen, to attend to all the items mentioned above and many more in a professional manner all while balancing our civilian job responsibilities and personal lives. To balance all of these requirements is a daunting task and performing our primary duties well and finding enjoyment in them, can get lost in the shuffle. How are we to accomplish it all? How do we perform well while running about with what sometimes feels like so many distracting requirements?

A large part of the answer lies in good leadership in your organization. Another part of the equation rests squarely on your shoulders. It is your level of engagement in your work. Numerous studies and research show that employee engagement drives greater production and employee satisfaction. As service men and women we are more than mere employees, although some among us may feel at times, totally disengaged from our honorable calling.

So what does “engagement” really mean and how does it help us? In short, it means people do their work wholeheartedly and like what they do. In our case, living out the Air Force Core Values is a good indicator of our engagement. Those who are engaged bring their best to work, perform honorably and with excellence. They are more apt to find enjoyment in what they do because they know the purpose they are serving. They have a firm understanding of how their role supports not only their unit’s mission, but also how their unit and the 94 AW support our national objectives. They have connected the dots. And they feel good about it! The attitude we choose has much to do with our level of engagement and satisfaction in our work. Connecting the dots to the bigger picture helps us see how we make a positive difference and improves our attitude, productivity and enjoyment at work.

Can you connect the dots from your primary duty to the mission of the 94 AW? At present, this wing is a C-130 Tactical Airlift wing standing ready for our nation’s call. Everyone has a role to ensure their unit and the 94 AW can execute its mission. There is an old adage that says:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

What is the nail that you control? How does what you do ensure your unit and the 94 AW is ready to execute its mission? Connect the dots, gain clarity on your part of the big picture and serve with honor.