The enemy of great is good

  • Published
  • By Col. Ronald A. Wilt
  • 934th Operations Group commander
This is the year of inspections for the 934th Airlift Wing. We have a unit compliance inspection, logistics compliance assessment program, health service inspections for the aeromedical staging squadron and aeromedical evacuation squadron in September, and aircrew standardization and evaluation visit in November.

As we approach these inspections, I hope we are striving for outstanding results and not just hoping to squeek by. I want to acknowledge all teams in the wing have work that needs to get done just to survive on a day-to-day basis known as the whirlwind. In addition to the whirlwind we must support our wing mission which, in turn, supports the Air Force mission.

The wing leadership provides priorities to focus on our most important goals, which provide direction in order to become a great organization.
Major inspections are the metrics used to ensure our processes are supporting the wing and Air Force missions. They ensure we not only do things right but do the right things.

From good
We have gone through staff assistance visits to get external feedback on our processes. Sometimes feedback is blunt and makes us defensive. We need to sift through the data the SAVs provide to get the useful information that will improve our processes. I think we will get the best results by empowering our teams to determine what is useful to improve our processes.

If teams are not empowered, they don't have ownership of their processes. They have no interest in improving them but strive for "good enough." For an unempowered team, it is easier to find a way to work around broken processes and show them as green (good as-is) and hide the red (faults or needing improvement).

To great
The new wing leadership wants to empower the teams that make up this wing. I think it is through empowerment we will achieve great results.
We need to get out of the mindset of "green is good and hide the red". We need to start seeing red as a good thing because it recognizes areas that need work. It is the red that provides the challenge for process improvement. This new mindset will make us great and distinguish us from good organizations. Good is the best score we can get if we operate in the mindset of "green is good, hide the red". Why not go for great?

Once we work together to improve our processes, we will become a great organization. We need to show our accomplishments that are in the green; and we need to show what is in the red and how we are addressing those issues. I have no doubt we can achieve great results.

With empowerment comes accountability. We all need to hold ourselves accountable in supporting the wing and Air Force missions. We need to work together helping each other to succeed. Process improvement is continuous so we must search for the red and not hide from it.

So, why do I say the enemy of great is good? Well, if you want to just pass and only be a good organization, show the green and hide the red. If you want to be great, show the red with the green. Only great organizations see the red as challenges and strive to improve those areas. We have great people, great leaders and great processes. Therefore, I have no doubt we can and will have outstanding results from the upcoming inspections. As such, I am proud to be a member of this great, not just good, team.