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Culture – a vital component of mission success

Culture – a vital component of mission success

Tech. Sgt. Pete Ruiz, adjunct facilitator for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE), leads a discussion about the Air Force culture and how commanders can influence change at all levels within their organization at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 4, 2018. Commanders and enlisted leaders from the 80th Flying Training Wing ENJJPT program attended this conference and openly discussed the topic of leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Culture – a vital component of mission success

Chief Master Sgt. Marc Schoellkopf, 80th Flying Training Wing command chief, listens to Tech. Sgt. Pete Ruiz, adjunct facilitator for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE), lead a discussion about the Air Force culture and how commanders can influence change at all levels within their organization at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 4, 2018. Commanders and enlisted leaders from the 80th FTW ENJJPT program attended this conference and openly discussed the topic of leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Culture – a vital component of mission success

Col. Andrea Themely, 80th Flying Training Wing commander (left), Col. Lendy Renegar, 80th FTW vice commander (middle), and Chief Master Sgt. Marc Schoellkopf, 80th FTW command chief (right), listen to Tech. Sgt. Pete Ruiz, adjunct facilitator for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE), lead a discussion about the Air Force culture and how commanders can influence change at all levels within their organization at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 4, 2018. The 80th FTW ENJJPT program leadership attended this conference and openly discussed the topic of leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Culture – a vital component of mission success

Tech. Sgt. Pete Ruiz, adjunct facilitator for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE), leads a discussion about the Air Force culture and how commanders can influence change at all levels within their organization at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 4, 2018. Commanders and enlisted leaders from the 80th Flying Training Wing ENJJPT program attended this conference and openly discussed the topic of leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Our Air Force values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do remain in the foundation for our Air Force, but are the Airmen evolving into something else? Something greater?

 

The 80th Flying Training Wing held an off-site leadership development conference May 4, 2018, to further develop their people and collaborate ideas to build a more efficient pilot training program.

 

While leaders host conferences like this all the time across the Air Force, this particular conference offered something truly unique. Col. Andrea Themely, 80th FTW commander, noticed an Airmen leader who she thought could lead the discussion and facilitate their commander’s growth and asked Tech. Sgt. Pete Ruiz to take charge. Ruiz – an adjunct facilitator for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE) – readily accepted the commander’s challenge.

 

“The one big thing we need to focus on to influence our Air Force culture is our values,” Ruiz said. “We need to make them visible, tangible, observable and measurable. Our values affect our actions, our actions affect our behaviors and our behaviors affect our culture.”

 

Better people, better Airmen, better Air Force was the motto that Ruiz adapted from PACE. Ruiz held the floor – and every commander’s attention – for nearly an hour and a half. Each commander including Themely, seemed quite engrossed in his presentation as they took notes. When he was finished, they all engaged in a round-table type discussion; offering both comments and questions about leadership.

 

“Pete’s presentation was perfect because it helped us understand how our actions are so critical to developing our culture,” said Themely.

 

Leadership isn’t a new topic for commanders, but the perspective changes when the conversation is diversified. Different generations often have a different approach or theory about the ever-evolving topic of leadership.

 

“What we try to do is focus on deliberate development of all of our leaders so that we give them some time away from the mission to sit back, think and put their thoughts into perspective on how to be a more effective leader for their people,” Themely said. “We can always strive to have a better organization, better unit, better leaders and better people. I think that has a positive impact on those that we lead, because when they see us trying our best to be better for them, it makes other people want to do better too.”

 

Strengthening partnerships and forging NATO fighter pilots is what the 80th FTW does best.

 

“Sergeant Ruiz is very special and we know from working directly with him that we have much we can learn from the people around us,” Themely said. “It’s important for all of us to learn from each other.”

 

“We are agents of change within the system or of the system,” Ruiz said. “Behaviors change at a micro level. That’s why it’s so important for us to pay attention.”