Relationships are Vital to Mission Success

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Tracy Cornett
  • 908th Airlift Wing

One year ago I was being interviewed to be your next Command Chief.  One topic we discussed was relationships.  At that time I told the interview board that relationships are very important to me and everything begins and ends with a relationship, or the lack thereof.  Relationships are the foundation to which all other actions are based on.

I believe relationships are a key ingredient to anything we do in life, whether it be a small personal project to working as a team to develop and complete a mission. Without a proper relationship, we are lone individuals going our own separate ways, doing things our own way, with a single approach on how to come to a conclusion. However, if we take time to build relationships with one another, we all can come together as a team, be totally open and honest, collaborate, and come to the best conclusion in order to be more effective while ensuring mission success.  I believe how we approach and interact with others will almost always, determine the success or failure of the outcome.

Relationships aren’t always easy.  Oftentimes they are difficult to navigate and can take a lot of effort to maintain.  When I arrived to the 908th Airlift Wing, I discussed with both the Chief’s Group and the First Sergeant’s Council about why relationships are very important to me and how they are vital to mission success.  I also reminded them that there may be times in life where we should simply cut off relationships with one another and walk away, but those should be very few and far between.  Just because we can cut off a relationship doesn’t mean we should do it!  If you choose to take this route, ensure that it’s the last and only option left on the table, and it’s what’s best for you, the enterprise, and the mission.

By saying we shouldn’t cut off a relationship doesn’t mean we cannot have spirited debate and diversity in thoughts and opinions.  We can do all that and still preserve our relationships.  In fact, I would submit that diversity in thoughts and points of view are healthy, and they help in preserving relationships.  It allows us to stop and consider another person’s point of view in which we may learn something new about them.  That’s where the true relationship building really begins, when we pause and consider another’s point of view.

Having a relationship with someone gets us beyond the doorway of general discussion.  It gets us closer to the issue that needs addressing.  It also gets us to more open and honest dialogue, opinions, and feelings.  If we take time to build relationships, we develop trust and credibility with one another, which are the tenants of my leadership style.  Developing our relationships and building that trust and credibility with one another allows us to diversify the team and be all-inclusive in our efforts. This gets us to a more positive result for ourselves and the mission we have been entrusted to carry out.      

In conclusion, I would like for you to consider the relationships you have with your fellow Airmen.  Think about where those relationships are right now, where they should be, and where you would like for them to be. What have you done to build the relationship that you currently have with each other?  What are some potential roadblocks to building on those relationships?  How do you build upon those relationships into the future?  Take a few moments and reflect on how you manage each and every relationship you have.  You may be surprised at what you can accomplish when we all work together and build our relationships with one another.  I look forward to hearing from you and how you are building those relationships.  Aim High, Fly, Fight, and Win!