Sharing II: A chance to learn from each other Published Feb. 11, 2022 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - In last week’s AFMC Connect story on “Sharing,”, Col. Patrick Miller, the 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, introduced a series of questions answered by the wing leaders to facilitate small-group conversations across Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a way to better connect with each other. This week, we continue the questions with Air Force Materiel Command leaders: 1. What is the book (or books) you have given most as a gift, and why? Alternatively, what are a few books that have greatly influenced your life? Col. Brian Moore, AFMC director of staff – Books that I give as gifts are: “It Worked for Me” by retired U.S. Army Gen. Collin Powell “Give and Take” by Adam Grant “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni Books that have influenced me are: Faith based books “My American Journey” by Gen. Powell “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulgham All of these books provide exceptional illustrations addressing culture, character, strategy, motivation and attitude. They are applicable to every level of leadership and followership and provide practical wisdom for any human, and gems of insights within teams and our profession of arms. Chief Master Sgt. Vincent Lommen II, AFMC command first sergeant – There are three books that I recommend: “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson is an extremely simple book that highlights a profound idea. This was one of the first professional leadership books I read. For many, this is the “gateway” book that will open them to more professional reading. “Bounce; Living the Resilient Life” by Robert J. Wicks is a book about resiliency… before resiliency was an Air Force buzzword. There is a great chapter on self-care as well as suggestions on surrounding yourself with the right type of people and friends. “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?” by Alan Alda is great book that takes an atypical approach to emotional intelligence and empathy. 2. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? Moore – I focus up and look for a broader perspective to “see the forest through the trees,” as it were. That usually takes me to family, faith and friends… focusing on others. Lommen – I play sports or hit the gym to regain focus. Forcing the body to get utterly exhausted allows the mind to “re-boot”. Scott Vincent, 88th Civil Engineering Group director – I step back and pray for enlightenment and wisdom. As a man of faith, I trust my higher power to guide me. 3. We often talk about taking risk. What is the most important risk you took and why? Moore – Definition of risk is critical = Probability over Consequence The probability my wife Barb would say “yes" when I asked her to marry me was 1 in 100 at best. The probability she would stay with me 28 years was 1 in a million. She may assess the consequences differently (I definitely married up). However, we both agree the positive consequence of the last 28 years include incredible family, faith and friends, all part of the risk taken at the beginning of this Air Force journey until today. Lommen – Professionally, joining the Air Force was the most important risk I took. All other experiences were made possible by that risk. Personally, having children was the most important risk that I took – family is everything. Vincent – The most important risk I have taken is to invest in people that are not yet proven performers. Bottom line – Trust your gut. 4. Building on risk, how has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure?” Moore – The probability my team and I would always articulate the best options to military decision makers was slim. Similarly, the probability we would always perfectly succeed in helping teammates cope with life’s many burdens and complications was equally slim. For military decision makers, logistics command and control is crucial to winning the next war and we haven’t delivered – primarily because of our inability to communicate the full benefit to the warfighter. However, as we inch closer, with Joint All-Domain Command and Control and Advanced Battle Management System becoming reality, a path to success is within reach – digital communication and integration. Similarly, after months of connecting a teammate to professionals who help with PTSD, and actively listening with empathy, we failed to keep our teammate from taking his own life after retirement. However, the lessons and HOPE (help, opportunity, people caring and expectations) we refined with the help of experts, and communicated verbally and digitally to other hurting Airmen, resulting in 13 saves in 2020. Communication and caring to help connect Airmen, at the height of COVID, was key… and is increasingly important today. In both cases, the consequences of not communicating “best military advice” to help win the next war, or “best health advice” to save the lives of our teammates, is catastrophic and therefore imperative to continue to take the risk at the highest costs. Lommen – My favorite failure occurred as a young Airman. As an aircraft maintainer, I improperly assembled a component that resulted in a catastrophic failure during a test run. Thankfully, nobody was injured, but I couldn’t stop thinking how my failure could have killed someone. I thought my career was over. However, I was astonished by the reaction of my leaders. They treated it as a teaching moment and my failure resulted in changes that improved processes across the Air Force. It’s my favorite failure because I learned how real leaders should treat honest mistakes. That experience built a trust in me that I’ve carried ever since. 5. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? Vincent – I love hockey because it knows no bounds – what you see is what you get. 6. If you could have a gigantic billboard with your favorite quote or leadership philosophy, what would it say and why? Are there any other quotes you think of often or live your life by? Moore – “Be strong and courageous, with humility, credibility and always with others in mind first!” It’s not about you… it’s about freedom and liberty for all, security of our nation and the values every American should example to the world, especially within our profession of arms – integrity, service and excellence. Other quotes I live by are: Senator Sam Nunn – “If you’re leading and nobody is following… man, you’re just out taking a walk.” Lou Holtz – “Ability is what you’re capable of; Motivation determines what you do; Attitude determines how well you do it. Lommen – “Take more pride in your effort… than in your results.” Sometimes we work hard and we do everything right, but we don’t get the end result wanted. Instead of being content in our outstanding effort, we tend to brood over the result and dismiss all the good we’ve done. Conversely, sometimes our effort is mediocre at best, but by happenstance we are rewarded with a positive end result. We should not be satisfied with this “accidental reward” that was the result of poor effort. Basically, we should focus on what we directly control – our effort – and not on that which we do not control – the outcome. Vincent – Do what you say and say what you do – be honest and transparent! 7. What advice would you give to a smart, driven Airman — uniformed or non-uniformed — starting their Air Force journey? What advice should they ignore? Moore – Do: Read, read, read, or digitally listen, the right material at the right time Become a life-long learner to think critically when needed most Be the best at your job and then help others do the same A well-articulated and thoughtful argument wins out over rank any day “We Are Better Together” Accountability, Respect and Transparency (ART) builds trusting teams…because humans are an ART and leadership and followership are all about Airmen Don’t: Stop caring when it gets hard Stop thinking when your team needs you Sacrifice your family, faith or friends along your Air Force journey; your full potential depends on it Lommen – You just stepped on to a fast moving train. As time passes, it’s easy to get fixated on what’s right in front of you and forget why you serve. Always remember that the end result of your hard work, dedication and sacrifice is the betterment of our nation and the security of the entire free world. Always be proud of what you do. Vincent – Ignore the folks that say we have always done it this way and have no fear about questioning the status quo. The old timers have wisdom, but maybe not foresight. Don’t miss next week’s edition for the next set of leaders and answers.