Commentary: Long Rangers, go for the WIN

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ted Daigle
  • 307th Bomb Wing

Long Rangers,

We sometimes use the terms “complicated” and “complex” interchangeably to describe a difficult situation. In reality, something complicated follows a set of axioms and can be managed and solved in a predictable manner.  For example,in math terms, there is ONE correct answer and an infinite number of incorrect. On the other hand, a complex problem does not lend itself to a single solution; there is an infinite number of answers with varying degrees of correctness.

As we grow in our careers, we learn answers to complicated problems by applying data from technical orders or regulations. When we move into leadership positions, we are often faced with complex problems that do not have a single “right” answer. In a complex environment, it is unlikely that a plan or strategy will work as advertised. What leadership needs in a crisis is not necessarily a predefined response plan, but a mindset that can find the quickest way to an acceptable solution. Amid the uncertainty and change, leaders try to synthesize past experiences and apply them to real-time, dynamic situations. As the rate of change speeds up, leaders must be transparent, consistent, and create stability. They also have a responsibility to continue delivering quality services despite the disruptive changes.

The currency of leadership influence is trust, and trust is vital to building relationships where teams collaborate, learn, and grow together. As leaders, we may not have all of the answers, but need to know where to go and/or direct our warriors to search. It’s also important for us to communicate as much as we can. Any perceived void is going to be filled with anxiety or conjecture, and that can spread quickly. I want you to download the AF Connect app, and then follow the 307th Bomb Wing page. This is a great one-stop resource for keeping yourself informed and engaged on Wing happenings, COVID-19 information, and other notifications.

I also ask you to up-channel any concerns or limiting factors you see and not assume it has already been thought of. I want everyone to be part of the solution. From our youngest Airman to our most experienced, we need to engage the issues and accelerate efforts to solve them. On the 307th Bomb Wing Connect page is a WIN button. It stands for Wing Innovation and is your opportunity to introduce a new idea or better way of doing business. It will come straight to me, and we will look at feasibility and implementation.  

I know our warriors are concerned about the future and may be feeling isolated and alone right now. We ask you to be creative with getting your team together virtually and have some honest discussions. We need to hear and empathize with the emotions, quell any trepidations, and discuss what is in our span of control and what isn’t. For the things we can control, look at the challenges through this crisis lens and figure out new ways to engage with our people and execute our processes. Establish a new battle rhythm and stay engaged with one another via social media, periodic check-ins, and be imaginative with new ways to build connectedness in your teams.

We are in a short term slow down, but we also need to keep ourselves ready. One of our priorities is to protect Americans from COVID-19, and still defend America and its interests. Eat properly, get some rest, drink plenty of water, take your vitamins, and try to maintain a workout regimen. The gyms may be closed, but you have everything you need to stay fit within you. Herschel Walker built his chiseled physique through bodyweight exercises…mostly 2,000-plus sit-ups and push-ups daily. I want our organization to emerge from this crisis stronger, smarter, and more resilient than when we started. We have a great opportunity to capitalize on lessons learned as we go, and change the paradigm on how we operate as we move forward. A new normal is going to develop once we get this behind us, and we need to be prepared. We will continue to embrace the uncertainty, leverage our resources to clarify and mitigate ambiguity, and create an environment where we introduce innovative ideas and new approaches to remain a lethal force.

Be safe, be smart, and be a good wingman.

CMSgt. S