Kindergarten: Success basics

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. James Hartle
  • 908th Airlift Wing
W e all learned in kindergarten the basic elements of successful teamwork: Treat others how you would like to be treated, take turns and share. Yep, that simple. During our entire educational journeys, elementary, middle and high school, we've been subliminally programmed to be successful teammates and contribute to something bigger than ourselves.

For each of us, that something bigger is the team we've all volunteered to be a part of, the United States Air Force. 

The ingredients of any successful team aren't found in some fancy book, or quotes from a motivational speaker. They were introduced in kindergarten and we exercise them daily. These basic teamwork principles were evident during my recent deployment to the AOR.

For six months I was the deputy commander for the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group. This group was comprised of more than 1,100 maintainers, from 87 different units across the Reserve, Guard and active duty.

With that, many people from vastly different units and backgrounds, trying to execute the Air Tasking Order was no small feat, but the successes couldn't be understated. It wasn't the leadership, a small group of superstars, the best equipment or even ideal conditions that made it successful.

It was the kindergarten basics of teamwork that were the core of success. Treating everyone with respect and a zero tolerance for anything less was pivotal. Taking turns to split the workload in the searing 120-degree-plus heat on the flightline was critical. Those recognized for their outstanding achievements were always quick to share their accolades with their teammates.

You don't have to deploy to be part of a successful team, nor do you have to go back to kindergarten to experience these principles. Our very own wing exemplifies them. Look to 2015 and catapult to a successful CAPSTONE inspection in January, where our execution of these principles will be on full display as we, like we always do, show the command and the entire Air Force, what a successful team looks like in the 908th AW!  Kindergarten basics, they're all we need!