• Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Garland Smith
  • 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent
As we go about the daily tasks of performing our duties and carrying out the Air Force mission, each of us have decisions to make. From simple, personal ones like whether to wear the uniform properly or get to work on time, to significantly more complex ones that can affect an entire squadron, group or wing.

While some decisions require many things to be considered, my 27 years in the Air Force have taught me one crucial lesson. Before making a decision on an issue; I must ask myself two important questions on which to base my actions: What is the standard? What are my emotions?

Standards are at the heart of everything we do. They govern our conduct, appearance, customs and courtesies, and performance, to name a few. What I love about Air Force standards is that they apply to most situations and to all Airmen. Standards are what make us different from any other organization in the world and are what keeps us in formation, in step and in cadence, marching toward the mission. Standards also have the benefit of helping us maintain the elements of fairness and consistency in the decision making process. Decision makers beware! Making a habit of deviating from the standard can be a slippery slope that is difficult to recover from.

You may be asking the question; what if there is no standard that applies to my situation? In this rare instance, fall back on your core values. If the decision you are contemplating passes through the filters of integrity, service and excellence and comes out clean, there's a pretty good chance you're heading in the right direction.

Emotions are a natural part of being human and there is little we can do about them. However, they have a tendency to cloud one's judgment, so we must train ourselves to be mindful of them when making important decisions, especially decisions that affect other people. Have you ever witnessed the individual who decided to act unprofessionally towards another because of the negative emotions they were feeling at the time? Don't fall into the emotion trap! Before you act, check your feelings.

As we pass through the ranks, each of us are going to be challenged with making tougher and tougher decisions. Some of them are going to be viewed by others as right or wrong, fair or unfair, just or unjust, depending on the decision's affect on that particular individual. We should all strive to become better decision makers through increasing our knowledge of the mission, the people, and the issues of the day. More importantly, we must be committed to "getting it right". Remember, the best decision may not always be a popular one, but a decision founded in the standard and free from emotional bias will almost certainly be right. do you decide?