Trust is critical to successful operations

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. London Richard
  • 382nd Training Squadron
Trust, respect and mentoring should be more than just buzzwords.

Adherence to these three tenets and our core values is critical if we are to achieve our wing's vision to be "the training center of choice ... today and tomorrow." Our customers expect this, and we should demand it of ourselves, our staff and our students.

We should be the most trusted source of technical training and services for our customers.

Much of an individual's utility and reliability is a direct result of their own behaviors. Of course, we can and should hold people accountable for their actions. This includes punishment and reinforcement when appropriate.

However, we can positively influence and shape their behaviors only when they truly trust us, our training platforms and "the system."

Trust is also vital to our internal operations. Our staff must be able to trust their co-workers and those up and down the chain of command. We must all strive to collectively instill a sense of trust in our instruction, products, and services.

When one or a few individuals falter, it is our responsibility to help them succeed. In other words, building and maintaining trust is both an individual and a team effort. We succeed together or we fail together.

Trust can take time to build, but it is very quickly shattered. When someone fails to adhere to our core values, becomes unreliable or engages in questionable conduct, we lose trust in that person, and their organization. This diminishes our effectiveness.

We also cannot make students or customers trust us; they must decide this on their own. What we can do to help others make this decision is to be trustworthy.

To be trustworthy, we must continuously exhibit the "three C's" - competence, character and connection. We must have technical competence, demonstrate high character traits and connect/relate well with others with whom we interact. If one element is missing, trust is lost.

The three C's are also closely related to our Air Force core values. Character is connected to integrity, connection is related to service and competence is associated with excellence. Thus, if we adhere to our service's core values, we will demonstrate trustworthy actions.

The military is an organization that involves sacrifice. We sacrifice certain freedoms, and we sacrifice our time, energy and efforts. Many individuals before us have, likewise, made significant sacrifices. We are a more effective military and a stronger nation because of the qualities and sacrifices of our members.

Follow our core values, and build trust through your actions each and every day. Make this an integral part of your personality. Our services and our country depend on it.