Be successful one day at a time

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert Kafka
  • 62nd Security Forces Squadron
Success. Success is what we strive for; if we're not successful militarily, then we could lose our nation's wars and ultimately could lose our democracy and freedom.

A definition of success is: "the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors." How does an individual or an organization become "successful" and achieve a favorable or prosperous end state?

First, while it may seem rudimentary, you need to have a vision or end state on where you want yourself or organization to go or become. This first step is critical--without a vision or end state, you'll end up "somewhere" but probably not where you were intending to go.

Next, you need to have short- and long-term goals that should be set high, but achievable. Review your goals' progress and adjust as needed to meet your goals which in turn will deliver you to your end state and allow you to become "successful."

Does it end there? No. I believe there are some other key requirements that guide us and organizations on how to become successful. For the USAF, our Core Values--Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do--provide all Airmen a starting point on how to act on- and off-duty. They ensure our fellow Airmen know that we can be trusted even when nobody's watching us, that we put our service's requirements ahead of our own personal desires and wishes and that we will never settle for the "status quo" or "it's just good enough."

Other areas I feel that lead to success are accountability. If you make a mistake, be up front, live up to it, and get it fixed.

Communication. Information flow is vital to a unit's success. Keep your boss and chain informed. Give bad news as well as good news (bad news doesn't get any better with age). If you bring up problems and challenges, also bring possible solutions.
Leadership. It occurs at all levels. Every time you walk by a mistake and do nothing about it, you just created the new standard.

Loyalty. It goes both ways (to your subordinates and bosses).

Also, there's a time and a place for everything...if you disagree with something, there's usually a "right time and place" to discuss your disagreement. But, when a decision's been made, your chain will need your full support of the decision whether you agree with it or not.

So, how does one become successful in life and in the Air Force? One day at a time.