AFSC leadership model provides a path to reaching goals

By Tinker Public Affairs
December 6, 2012

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Leaders need goals.

But not just organizational goals; effective leaders need to target specific characteristics in order to continually grow in their leadership skills.

"Leaders of great organizations modify their behavior to achieve impossible results," said Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, Air Force Sustainment Center commander. "Effective leaders are always looking to grow and improve themselves."

The general highlights some specific leadership characteristics in what he refers to as the "Air Force Sustainment Center Leadership Model."

The commander's intent with the model is to assist leaders in taking care of their people, accomplishing the mission and preparing for the future. The success of any organization depends largely on the effectiveness of leadership at all levels and the AFSC leadership model presents a holistic approach to gaining effectiveness and efficiencies.

"We will meet our demanding mission through teamwork and empowering our workforce to develop a culture that breaks through constraints," he said. The leadership model provides a guide to do just that.

AFSC must focus on the people, processes and resources needed to support the warfighter. This requires our leadership to provide the proper care, training and attention to our employees. It means allocating our resources to include facilities, infrastructure, IT systems, equipment, tools, funding and parts so they are positioned to best support the mission.

But according to the commander, the linchpin that binds this model together is AFSC's ability to continually improve our processes. "Our goal for process improvement is 'art of the possible' -- achieving world-record results and being the best in the business," Litchfield said. "Our leaders need to give their workforce the ability to make those improvements."

The model explains that "Art of the Possible" is about reaching beyond today's limitations to grasp previously unimagined heights of performance. It is about challenging each other to recognize opportunities, eliminate constraints, improve processes and optimize resources to achieve world-record results.

"It isn't about working harder, cutting corners or jeopardizing workplace safety; but about expanding our vision of what is truly possible and refusing to settle for marginal improvements," he said.

The general is looking to leadership at all levels to help him reach these "Art of the Possible" results. He expects leaders to focus on the characteristics of teamwork, accountability, respect, transparency, credibility and engagement as the behaviors to emulate when striving for success.

Everyone in the AFSC is accountable for improving their processes and making today better than yesterday, while making tomorrow better than today. Leaders across the AFSC should establish measurable goals (metrics) for their organization and be able to demonstrate whether or not they've "had a good day."

This type of transparency is a key for success, the general said. "We should be able to walk into any work center, look at the metrics and know whether or not we're meeting expectations and what we need to do to exceed them."

The AFSC Leadership Model outlines how the general expects the organization to succeed in the future.

"It's my job to make everyone in this organization successful," Litchfield told the AFSC leadership. "And, it's your job to make everyone in your organization successful."

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