Starting with why

  • Published
  • By Colonel Robert L. Hanovich Jr.
  • 22nd Operations Group
In his book “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” Simon Sinek presents the idea of a Golden Circle to describe organizations, which consists of three concentric rings with “why” at the center of the circle moving outward to “how” then “what.”

Sinek proposes that the “what” of an organization is easy to identify; it’s the product, service or function you provide. He describes the “how” as less obvious because it is often used to explain how something is better or different. The “why,” however, is the most difficult to capture and boils down to the fundamental reason the organization exists. Using this, I’d like to share with you the foundational “why,” “how” and “what” of the 22nd Operations Group.

“Why” does the 22nd Operations Group exist? Our “why” is captured in one simple, but powerful phrase: “No one kicks a** without tanker gas…nobody” (NKAWTG). We are the reason the United States is a global power with the global reach to deliver airpower using a wide range of options from dropping bombs on target to assuring allies and deterring adversaries to humanitarian aid and responding to crises anywhere around the world at a moment’s notice. Our “why” is the reason I’m proud to be a tanker pilot and a member of the 22nd Operations Group.

Moving to the middle circle, the “how” of the 22nd Operations Group is captured in our disciplined, professional and proactive Airmen. We approach our mission in a disciplined fashion that follows guidance precisely without taking shortcuts. Professionalism captures our commitment, loyalty and trust that our Air Force and our nation depend on. Being proactive captures our desire to care for our teammates, innovate, and take action to solve problems.

Working to the outer ring, our “what” is to provide strategic options to the President of the United States. This is captured in the functions we provide as disciplined warriors, professional Airmen and proactive wingman. We provide options to serve, to protect and defend our nation’s interests, specifically by providing aerial refueling to support all three legs of the nuclear triad, special operations refueling capabilities, conventional missions, and aeromedical evacuations.

Now I challenge you to discover your Golden Circle personally and organizationally. Find your “what” and “how,” but most importantly, your “why.”