How will you handle winds of change if they approach F6?

  • Published
  • By Andy Flowers
  • Hill AFB installation director of Manpower, Personnel and Training
On the Fujita Scale (also known as the F-Scale), which measures the severity of tornados, there are typically five ratings from F0 to F5, with residual damage rated as light to incredible. Sometimes, an F6 category, the "inconceivable tornado," is included in the scale. The F6 has never been recorded and is difficult to measure. However, Mr. Fujita never considered using his scale to measure re-organizations within the Air Force.

Who would have thought the changes that we face today in our Air Force, specifically in our command (Air Force Materiel Command), would have been conceivable two years ago? The DoD contribution to our nation's debt this year and over the next several years promises to result in an Air Force that veterans of the '60s and '70s might not recognize. The Navy will probably buy fewer ships; the Air Force will probably buy fewer planes.

On a local level, Hill Air Force Base will not escape these winds of change. Having been designated an Air Logistics Center for many years, we now face losing our commander and executive director who have guided us the past few years. The maintenance wing will have a new name, the Air Logistics Complex. The Aerospace Sustainment Directorate will be part of a newly created center, and the Air Base Wing remains the anchor of base operations. Many of us will have new jobs, and some will decide to retire ahead of the bow wave of change that promises to consolidate and centralize our current way of doing business. And that can be a refreshing change.

Although change doesn't necessarily mean improvement, we need to have change in order to improve. I truly believe the senior personnel in the Air Force and the command are making these changes because they believe these changes are necessary for us to survive and thrive in the future.

Personally, I've always liked change. It has always proven to be an adventure. I've moved eight times in my Air Force career. I've been stationed at nine different bases in five different commands on two continents. And I never served in the active duty Air Force. I've been an Air Force Civilian my entire career. Some lessons I've learned I think are worth sharing. Not all are my original words, but are appropriate just the same.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you make important decisions in navigating the turbulent times ahead.

Remain calm and be kind

Most of us lead quiet, unheralded lives for which there will not be any ticker-tape parades in our honor. But that doesn't lessen the impact we can have. People appreciate compassion and encouragement. We often underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a calm presence when others are in disarray. Consider being calm and kind as our course of action.

Avoid having your ego so close to your job that when your job falls, your ego falls with it

Our jobs aren't necessarily who we are but rather what we do. If we don't like what we do, we have control over that. We can't control others' reactions, but we can control our actions.

Don't let negative facts keep you from making a sound decision

Sometimes, facts portray the situation as hopeless. It's rarely that way. Situations are most often more threatening at the start. The situation usually looks better in time.

Don't take counsel with your naysayers

Rarely will those who oppose you give you sound counsel. Seek support and mentorship from someone who cares.

Take time to be fit

You need to do something for your health, whether it's losing weight (it takes the loss of 3,500 calories to lose one pound), training for a marathon (give yourself six months of consistent training), quitting smoking, or just feeling more comfortable about yourself and your self image. A positive self image and improved health yields exponential benefits at work, play and in your relationships.

Sweat the small details

The big things usually take care of themselves. When many of us are faced with the decision to retire or to continue working, consider all factors involved in the outcome. Crunch numbers; then make a rational decision as to what's best for you.

'Damned if you do' and 'damned if you don't' are never equal

Choose a course of action which you believe is right for you. But, after a decision is made, let it go. You'll be happier and so will everyone else around you. Remember that surviving the difficult circumstances of radical change in life isn't accomplished by making quick decisions ... and there is more to life than increasing its speed.