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Excellence in All We Do

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Manique Braziel
  • 375th Mission Support Group
What is Excellence in All We Do? According to, "Excellence in All We Do" directs us to develop a sustained passion for continuous improvement and innovation, propelling the Air Force into a long term, upward spiral of accomplishment and performance. Following the definition, a variety of situations are detailed where excellence is key to how we conduct ourselves in service, our personal lives, and in the community. Sounds a little familiar, right? I believe Airmen, particularly those in my generation, aspire to demonstrate our Air Force Core Values, but we want them to align to our reality and concerns.

Airmen fall short. We are completely aware of what Excellence in All We Do means. Although from time to time, in our daily lives, our excellence doesn't seem quite excellent enough. Excellence is expounded to us as perfection. We fly, we fight, and we win. The room for error is limited, if not, completely void. Excellence is defined as the fact or state of excelling. In essence, you're starting from a lower point to reach a higher point. The bald eagle, symbol of freedom and justice to our country, falls out of its nest dozens of times before mastering flight. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a local newspaper for "lack of imagination and no good ideas." Charles Darwin was considered an average student. Each of these great individuals were failures in the eyes of those above them, but with a little guidance and motivation, became world renowned and respected in their fields. To be a self-starting Airman is awesome, if that's who you are, but I'd dare to say that many of our Airmen are not built that way. Leadership plays an invested role in the excellence of the Airmen they lead.

Therefore, we need leaders who cultivate an attitude of excellence; who work against the culture of "just good enough." During ongoing force management and other critical program changes Airmen desire authentic leadership, and yearn for mentorship. The expectations of excellence radiates intensely in the junior tier. As forerunners, we look to our leaders for guidance through these new terrains because (as cliché as this sounds) we would be completely lost without you. We need leaders and supervisors to be personable, approachable, and available to lead the way. My thinking brings to mind the phrase "leading a horse to water." You can define excellence all day long, but if we don't see it done, how do we learn to do it? Along with making sure your actions mirror your words, it is equally important that your words mirror your expectations. Excessive praise can also dilute its value. In other words, if my supervisor tells me my good enough is "excellence" then as far as I know, I'm on the right track. Remember, junior Airmen may view excellence differently than NCOs or CGOs. By modeling excellence, our leaders and supervisors instill and reinforce an "attitude of excellence." Help us transcend into the best we can be, by being that preeminent role model, and the enthusiasm to be greater will cultivate. This needn't only apply to leadership, but as wingmen, we should push each other to be better than we are.

Our differences, and how we address them, also helps makes us excellent. Einstein said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." By that same token, leaders should be grooming the outstanding qualities of their subordinates, and tailoring their lesser qualities to match. Leadership working with us to identify and bridge together our strengths and weaknesses is how we can truly come to embody "Excellence in All We Do."

Airmen are yearning for leaders and supervisors to make "Excellence in All We Do" personal to us. Excellence is a noun by definition, but if our goal is to internalize our core values, we have to make it an action verb. We need to witness excellence and not just be told to memorize its definition. In the words of Aristotle, "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." In other words, invest in your Airmen's differences, advance their limitations, and live by what you teach. Demonstrating excellence and holding people accountable to what excellence is in execution gives us something in which to aspire.