Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Honor of "No"

Integrity is a habit, and in life we all come to moments where we have to pause and make sure we are well grounded in our decisions.

Years of hard work and superior performance can often balance on what seems at the moment as a trifle. A small thing. Something fudge-able.

The right thing is usually, in the short run, harder to do the easy thing. Like telling the truth, it can seem at the moment to be the more difficult, the more time consuming, the more painful thing to do - but in the long run and when you look at that person in the mirror every AM - doing the right thing, truth, and honor are always the right decision.

Life is busy though. As fallen creatures, we are lazy by nature. We always have a little voice in our head pointing us to the easy way out. Reminding us that there may be a line there - but that's OK - who says it can't be just a little more "that way."

We're smart, we're experienced, we have the best intentions. We "get it." We know how to make it happen. It is just an arbitrary thing anyway - no one will know.


We've all been there - I doubt few have been perfect.

In that light, we should all take a moment not to throw rocks and mud - but to see and learn. By the mistakes of others - keep your path clear.
The ex-commander of a Maryland squadron that flies Navy leaders in corporate-style jets was fired after she acknowledged she lied on records that said an evaluator was on hand during flight simulator training, an investigative report obtained by The Associated Press shows.
Parker wrote that she was under pressure to get a certification done before picking up passengers from Hawaii following a Pearl Harbor 70th anniversary commemoration.
“The swirl of events surrounding (redacted’s) trip to Hawaii, the need to induct (redacted) into depot maintenance in order to keep it on track for (redacted’s) upcoming trips, and my own impending mission two days later made it seem unnecessary to upend schedules and use more resources to conduct an event I had essentially already completed,” she wrote. “I realize now that that decision was wrong, and I take full responsibility.”
That is the correct response. This is not;
“I know what I did was wrong, but I take issue with any suggestion that safety was compromised during or after this sequence of events. We performed all of the maneuvers safely and we followed all of the proper checklists and procedures for all of the trainers we flew,” she wrote. “I have flown subsequent missions with no issues whatsoever.”
No. You have evaluators for a reason - you need an objective eye on what you are doing, no matter how much faith you have in your perfection. You don't see yourself as others do. The ground is covered with greasy spots who thought the same. Don't make excuses or try to explain away what you did. You did it - you got caught. You're embarrassed. I understand. Net 2 below in headwork for that excuse.

There is a habit of thinking that just because you are in Command - the rules of physics and decades of mishap data don't apply to you. How many times in Naval aviation do we need reminders? Anywhere for that matter?

VPU off the runway in AFG? CO "too busy to maintain minimum qualifications."

From the same community. Time for your annual flight check ride? You're a Commodore - not for you, right?

You're a Marine General at war? Rules are for others, right?

Here is the ground truth that works in the air, on the sea, and under the sea as well. There is little margin of error in this line of work even in peacetime. You expect your junior personnel to demonstrate professionalism? Do it yourself. If you don't, they won't. If you cheat, they'll cheat. When they do that, standards fall. People die. It is that simple.

Any leader who thinks they can be sneaky and skirt rules that they force everyone else to follow is a fool. Everyone is watching everything you do. You may think no one knows, or no one will tell - but if you do you are a fool.

If you are a leader who creates a command climate that pushes otherwise good leaders to places where they think you want them to make bad judgements - then you are worse than they are.

Sometimes being a leader means being able to say, "no" - and to accept "no" from those who work for you.

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