Six fundamental beliefs for leadership

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Brad Spacy
  • 81st Training Wing commander
Thank you all for making us feel so welcome! Lisa and I are thrilled to be a part of the Keesler Family again, and we look forward to meeting you and spending time getting to know you and your families!

During my career I have seen a lot of commanders come and go, and each time a new commander took the guidon, I wondered what they would be like -- what they thought; what made them tick; what to expect -- so I thought I'd take this opportunity to outline six basic things I believe -- things I've grown up with and put together over my life and career that describe how I look at the world.

First, I believe strongly in Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence in all we do! Yes, these are our core values, but I was brought up by my parents on these concepts long before the Air Force captured them so well. It's more than just being honest, going to work, and doing a good job; it's how we live, prioritize our lives, and pursue the highest standards. These fundamental beliefs are the base on which our mutual trust is built, they give us strength and confidence, they enable us to take on any challenge, and defeat any foe!

I believe in hard work! I believe people like to work and they like to work hard; as long as the work is challenging, interesting, and they are recognized for it -- we're Americans and this is what we do.

I see the world in absolutes; I do not believe in gray area -- I believe in right and wrong, good and bad, win and lose! That doesn't mean I don't acknowledge that gray area exists -- it certainly does, but I think gray area is the weak leader's excuse to avoid accountability. It is up to leaders at all levels to find gray area and clear it up so Airmen have the clear guidance they need to do their mission--this goes back to our core values--no gray there. If you find gray area clear it up and if you can't; come see me and I will make sure it is crystal clear.
I believe in doing, not trying! Each day I set out to do things; if I set out to try and do things I've already accepted that failure is an option (and maybe even subconsciously accepted that failure is OK). Don't get me wrong, I know we may fail from time to time, but we don't set out to fail, we set out to succeed. If we fail we pick ourselves up, learn from it, and we set out to do it again. We're a nation at war and there no place in combat for trying; our way of life is at stake and we must succeed!

I believe in continuous improvement. I believe it is every Airman's responsibility to come up with new ideas and every leader's responsibility to create a climate where new ideas flourish. Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century is a great initiative that helps us eliminate waste and improve processes; however this concept of continuous improvement has been a part of our Air Force culture long before AFSO21 began. Just think about it for a minute; if we didn't believe in continuous improvement our Air Force might still be flying the Wright Flyer, the bi-plane, the P-51, or the F-4; all great capabilities in their time, but all succeeded by even better capabilities -- and all developed by smart Airmen!

Lastly, but certainly not the least, I believe in the Air Force family! I have spent my entire life in the Air Force between my father's career and my own and as you may already know my brother is an Air Force Colonel. When I say Airmen, I include all Air Force members, military and civilian, and they all hold a special place in my heart. This concept of family is what makes us so great--we work together, we fight together, we celebrate together, and we mourn together; together we can do anything! As a commander, I have an open door for all Airmen and I will do anything in my power to help you succeed -- come see me any time!

Those are some of the things I think are important and I welcome the chance to learn what you all think -- what makes you tick -- and how I can help you succeed as we serve this great nation and Air Force together.

Again, Lisa and I are excited and proud to be a part of the Keesler family and we look forward to spending time with all of you.