Take the time
By Col. Pat Miller, 31st Operations Group commander
/ Published January 03, 2011
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Please take the time to read this; it may make a positive difference in someone's life, maybe even your own!
We have many tenets and methods available to use when we're working to achieve things together. I believe in the tenant that we should strive to make a positive difference, and one method I use is to "take the time." I believe a bit of time spent now has great potential to reap an immeasurable amount of time better spent in the future.
I take the time to learn something about others because I believe people in a work section, or on a team, can be more effective if they have a greater connection with each other rather than if they view each other as resources just there to do a job. Know what motivates people, what makes them happy, what makes them tick. Through a bit of personal knowledge I believe trust and confidence can be established with cohorts, and this trust and confidence go a long way toward making a work section or team more efficient and productive.
Taking the time to learn about our people doesn't mean knowing everything and it doesn't mean prying into their personal lives. I think knowing at least a few things establishes a positive connection and provides a more positive environment.
What are some other ways Team Aviano members can take the time?
- Five minutes to edit an award package, or 50 minutes to a few hours to write one -- the end result could be much greater than the time invested. It could make a positive difference in a career. The same applies to performance reports and other paperwork.
- Five minutes or five hours to provide feedback -- this may impact much more than just the work produced by the person with whom the time is spent.
- Five seconds to say "Thank you for a job well done," might just improve someone's tour at Aviano. That possible improvement in work and attitude will likely affect others too.
- 0.5 seconds to smile may make another person's day better, personally and/or professionally.
Here are a few stories of how taking the time had an impact on some real Airmen:
An Airman moved into my squadron with some administrative actions from a previous assignment. The supervisor and I both spent time talking with the Airman about the past and our expectations for the future. About eight months later, this Airman was recognized as an Operational Readiness Inspection superior performer, and the shop earned an 'Excellent' rating. I invested about 30 minutes of time with the Airman -- the supervisor a bit more. I'll never know if our time spent made a difference, and really, that's not the point. The positive result is what mattered.
On TDY last month, a major stopped me in the hall. He said he'd never forget I told him "That was well done," following a mission we had flown together more than seven years ago. That few seconds of feedback made a big difference to him. Maybe those few words back then impacted his attitude and motivation, or perhaps affected the way he interacts with others.
A few weeks ago, I talked to an Airman in the hallway about his grandfather and father, and their contributions to aviation. Our five minutes or so of conversation established a connection we didn't have before, and perhaps it will make a positive difference down the road.
To sum, I believe even a few seconds can make a lifetime of difference to another person. I encourage everyone to "take the time" to learn something about the people with whom you work, and take the time to provide feedback, from a simple smile to a formal feedback session. You just might find that if you take the time, you'll have an easier time of getting things done. Thank you for taking the time!