Got this in my email today. Apparently this was sent base-wide from a command chief at a base overseas. Good stuff.
Silver Bullets for Effective Leadership
Volume 5: Through the Weapon’s Scope: "Scoping Out Image and Fitness"
5 Aug 2013
When writing EPRs, the one standard that is often overlooked is military image, under
the assumption that a ‘pass’ on the Air Force PT test is sufficient to earn a ‘Clearly
Exceeds’ marking under section titled “Standards: … Consider Dress and Appearance.”
Such assumption is negligent and must be addressed and corrected. Think back to
when you arrived at Basic Military Training and met your Military Training Instructor
(MTI) for the very first time. Their uniform was sharp, pressed and crisp. Their haircut
and grooming were impeccable. Their military bearing was flawless. They were lean
and fit role models. The Air Force saw it important enough to put the best in front of
new recruits in order to make a good and lasting impression. They did not choose
sloppy, unshaven, obese, or lackadaisical personnel for a reason: It is unacceptable
and it clearly goes against our core values.
That was then, but what about now? Do you have the same positive image when you
look at your supervisor, peers or subordinates? Are they modeled after our strict
standards? When you look in the mirror, do you see a professional military man or
woman? These questions should all be answered with a loud and thunderous “Yes!”
The reality is that, for some Airmen, this would not be the case. We need to take control
of the situation by enforcing the rules. If we do not, we will continue to waste funds
training personnel who get separated because of a lack of discipline.
It is time to draw our weapons in tight to our shoulders, place our eagle eye next to the
scope aperture, gaze through the lens, and fix our sights upon the target. Are we the
‘ready warriors’ the Air Force expects us to be? Are we the capable force according to
Air Force standards, and not to our personal arbitrary rules? Have we come to accept
out-of-shape military members while others pick up their slack? Many personnel have a
fogged lens and we must help them see the problem they are failing to engage.
Let's truly scope the issue: Our image and fitness.
SCOPING OUT OUR IMAGE AND FITNESS
THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL, EXTRACTED FROM AFI 1-1, CH. 3, STATES THE
IMPORTANCE OF IMAGE AND FITNESS:
3.1. Overview. First impressions are often drawn based upon appearance. ...
Projecting a good military image reflects not only on you personally, but also on the Air
Force. Appearance matters both on and off-duty and involves more than just the
clothes you wear. Projecting a professional image is paramount.
3.2. Dress and Personal Appearance. Pride in one’s personal appearance ... [is]
essential to an effective military force. All Air Force members must maintain a high
standard of dress and personal appearance ... neatness, cleanliness, safety, uniformity,
and military image. ... it is critical because other people, both military and civilian, draw
certain conclusions about individual Airmen and the Air Force based on what they see.
3.5. Physical Fitness. Air Force members must be physically fit to support the Air Force
mission. ... by maintaining a lean and fit appearance, Air Force members project the
proper military image. ... The fitness assessment [is the] tool [for commanders] in
determining ... fitness. ... each Air Force member is ... responsible for keeping himself
or herself in good physical condition.
SCOPING THE TARGET WITHOUT DUST COVERS OR FOG
When we purge AFI 1-1 of fluff (like we did in the above paragraphs) and extract the key
points and intent of the letter, it reads like an operational checklist: "must" means must,
not "may" or "can" or "It's up to you." It means that the subject is a matter of policy, that
it is 'carved in stone' and not up for debate or discussion. What is 'lean and fit'? For
starters, it could be a way of living by developing a habit to exercise daily or change
your diet. ‘Lean and fit’ requires change, a self-initiated change.
How many times do we see personnel taking elevators or escalators instead of the
stairs? Why do we carry size 46 trousers and size 50 blouses outside of maternity
clothes in our clothing sales when the max acceptable waist circumference is 39.5
inches? How many personnel do we see circling the parking lot at the BX or
Commissary looking for the parking spot closest to the door when there are many
available just 25 meters away? How many times do we see personnel outside of the
“mandatory PT sessions” taking care of themselves by being active? How about the
amount of Airmen that can’t run 1.5 miles without nearly having a seizure?
The truth of the matter is that we are not doing enough to get these standard violators
on track by continuing to ignore them and letting them reap the same rewards as our
best Airmen. The shame of it all is that very few have valid medical issues, most are
just allies of laziness. Enough is enough. They are your target, they are in your crosshairs, and you need to engage by taking action.
WHO OWNS THE SIGHT PICTURE?
All of us. Commanders do by incorporating a good, strong fitness program into their
organizations and ensuring accountability at all levels. Supervisors do by ensuring the
commander's programs--to include the EPR--are maintained and their Airmen remain fit,
healthy, and in good readiness to execute the mission. As individual Airmen, we have a
duty and responsibility to be ready at all times to perform our assigned mission--which is
anything the Air Force asks us to do--and to be a positive representative of our service.
Peer pressure to be the absolute best must be present at all levels, but most importantly
in the duty section. We have to pull our own weight; when you have too much of it or
lack the strength to hold your own, that task becomes harder and someone else would
have to pull your slack. If that sight picture we see in the mirror, in the duty center, or in
our community is not in accordance with the intent of what we know to be the Air Force
standard, then we are failing. Lack of action implies acceptance of lack of standards.
Lack of standards hinders our credibility. Lack of credibility hinders trust. All because of
failing to correct a simple issue.
HERE’S SOME ADVICE FROM YOUR COMMAND CHIEF:
For every Airman:
Take care of yourself both physically and mentally; be the example and the professional
you are expected to be. Do not seek medical waivers in order to dodge the fitness
assessment. These so-called "timely convenient" waivers are a dangerous habit that
will only make matters worse and affect your progress in attaining a proper image and
fitness level. Always seek improvement and show progression on your PT scores; do
not be stagnant. When donning the Air Force uniform, take pride instead of taking
shortcuts. Proper wear of the uniform--to include the PTU--is an indicator of your loyalty
and commitment to service. Do not accept ratings and rewards you have not earned. If
your supervisor lacks the guts to identify that you are falling short of the mark, ask them
why they are not holding you accountable. Be open to constructive criticism, own your
failures and learn from them. Also, share your successes with others in similar
situations in order to prevent failure. Develop two-way communications with your
supervisor and ask for frequent feedback. Lastly, correct up and down the chain when
the standards are violated--rank does not exempt anyone from being corrected.
If your personnel do not measure up, hold them accountable. Failure to enforce any
standard reflects poorly on your leadership and accountability--your EPR has a block on
how well you enforce standards, it is your duty. Do not compromise for obesity by
saying, “they are just thick,” or “big-boned,” or “large and in charge.” The same goes for
those who meet body composition but fail to wear the uniform properly or are weak and
lazy due to lack of motivation. Instead of justifying their shortcomings, have the moral
courage to look them in the eye, address the issue, and correct the problem. An Airman
can be a great technician, but that does not earn them a pass to be exempt from all the
other Air Force requirements. An Airman can be great at PT and look great in uniform,
but that would not earn them a pass to not perform their assigned mission. In life,
nothing of worth comes easy; it requires hard work from individuals and help and
guidance from those who lead them. Be good to them, tell them the truth, and help
them overcome their weaknesses while sharpening their strengths.
For senior leaders:
Be a filter for excellence, pushing up only the most deserving for rewards to include
decorations, endorsements, and stellar reports. Properly advise your commander and
maintain the integrity of the system by verifying the data. Hold personnel accountable
at all levels, including those in your staff. Not doing so indicates a tolerance for
substandard behavior and individuals that could--and most likely--diminish the credibility
of your organization. The tone gets set at the top and, in the end, you deserve what you
tolerate. Also, get in the habit of 'rating the rater' on their ability to enforce the
standards, they have the first-hand look and have a responsibility to do so. This is
about more than just a PT test: It is about the readiness, image, and health of our force.
Let your expectations be known, all while leading from the front and setting the pace.
Bottom line, clear the fogged lens: Let’s not turn the blind eye to the issue of
disregarding a proper military image and fitness. Some people need a wake up
call, and I know of no better alarm clock than the honest truth. Whether it comes
from others or from within, the desired result is clear: Excellence in All We Do.
Our mission is to “Fly, Fight, and Win”, not to “Sit, Get Beat, and Lose.” When
mediocrity gets in your cross-hairs, eliminate it at first sight. Care for what you
own: the mission and the people.
Last edited by StandardsAMust; 08-23-2013 at 12:19 PM.
TL;DR version: Crease your uniform and look like a marathoner.
Style over substance. Got it. Disregarding and moving on.
Sorry, What's this "Overview" thing about? Surely this chief has seen Blutarsky's writing (mis)guide and should know better -- it's a BLUF, dammit!!! And only one bottom line??? Disgraceful. Heck, he wrote enough for at least a bottom line, rock-bottom line, and a final bottom-rock-bottom line.
And when did everyone get a scope? What happened to good old iron sights? And if we're giving everyone scopes to be this precise and perfect, why not red-dot shooting lazer scopes?
This looks like it might have come out of the Pacific. Kadena, perhaps? If so, that Command Chief is anything but style over substance.
Also, I think this is just part of the messages being sent to the base...there might be more vectoring that I am unaware of from this Chief.
A few of his messages have hit a bit close to home for me and I had to reevaluate how I do some things. If you're able to take an objective and critical look at yourself and your leadership style, they're good messages. I need to touch base with him again and see if he's got anything new.
I liked it! Much of what he said mirrors my little rant from yesterday.
Especially this part:
Do not compromise for obesity by saying, “they are just thick,” or “big-boned,” or “large and in charge.”
I think the Chief makes some valid points and this is very different than the Blutaurski email.
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