Be an agent for change

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Francis
  • 131st Bomb Wing Commander
Have you ever stopped to think about how the Airmen that worked and flew the B-29 at the Spirit Gate would view the B-2 operation of 2014? I think they would be impressed, but not surprised. The Air Force has a long history of innovation and technological improvement. It is the nature of our business. With the ever-changing landscape of technology, adversaries, and economics we must all look for better, more effective ways to do our business.

The challenge, of course, is to make change work for us in a positive way. It must be deliberate, and it must improve our ability to accomplish the mission. I would argue that the most effective way to ensure change is positive is when it comes from the field. Imagine the level of performance improvement in our wing if every Airman had one good idea for how to better do his or her job. That would be thousands of new ideas that were focused directly on how to improve your work centers.

The reality is that there is no way for senior leaders to generate that many good ideas. Too often, we expect our leadership to tell us what to do or where we are headed. I for one believe that the imagination and ingenuity of our Airmen are the keys to solving the tough problems that we face in our 21st century Air Force.

I know many of you are skeptical about affecting change. We have all had great ideas in the past that were dismissed by our supervisor with "the boss is never going to let you do that" or "we have always done it this way." That kind of thinking is going to get left behind in the Air Force of tomorrow. There has never been a better time to effect change than today. We have to get better and your leaders know it. Through Air Force programs such as Airmen Powered by Innovation (API) and Make Every Dollar Count, our senior leaders want you to look for new avenues of innovation and process improvement.

Here at Whiteman, AFGSC is sending a Force Improvement Program (FIP) team to talk to you about how to improve your ability to accomplish the mission. Gen Wilson (AFGSC/CC) is very excited about the results that came out of the 20th Air Force FIP and he is hoping for similar results for the bomber community. This is a great opportunity for you to affect positive change in your area and for the B-2 mission as a whole.

I will leave you with this challenge: Come up with one good idea for how to do your job better. It doesn't have to be a big change or save millions of dollars. It just needs to be a step in the right direction. You will be adding your legacy to a long line of great American Airmen that have made the United States Air Force the most effective and capable force in the world.