Hungry for success? Try peanut butter, jelly sandwich

  • Published
  • By Maj. William Fischer
  • 22nd Mission Support Squadron commander
There is a reason why "We Lead." The Air Force looks to McConnell because we have great people accomplishing incredible tasks. "We Lead" because we make it look easy and transparent to the customer. Our core values mean we get the right things done the right way. However, is our legacy of excellence in danger amidst the current budget reductions? If personnel and funding levels are being cut, how will we answer our nation's call when it needs us more than ever? The answer is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

As you think of excellence at McConnell, consider the inventor of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This person didn't invent peanut butter, jelly or sliced bread. What this person did was to see things that were great by themselves and combine them in a new way to make something even better. Everyone knew these ingredients were good, but an innovative person had an idea and was willing to try something new. This is how McConnell's legacy of excellence will continue despite personnel and budget reductions.

Your task is to make McConnell's next peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Find the good things about your process and think about putting them together in a new way that makes something even better. Initiatives such as AFSO21 can provide the tools and forum to look at our processes in a new way. AFSO21 is not the latest fad being pushed by a think-tank or a government contractor. It is how we can ensure we are being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. It isn't just a catchy phrase. The outlook can have immediate and lasting impact on quality of life, mission accomplishment and warfighter success.

How about an example that affects everyone? You can be sure that deployment processing is getting the peanut butter and jelly sandwich treatment. The entire deployment community at McConnell is conducting an end-to-end review, finding the good things and seeing if there is a better way to combine them for more efficient and less stressful outprocessing. The Rapid Improvement Even, an event during which a team of people visit a unit and evaluate the efficiency of its processes, completed recently was a great example of how we're going to make things better at McConnell. For starters, how about taking the current 67-hour process down to 44 hours - a 34 percent reduction? AFSO21 is providing the recipe book to create a better process for McConnell warfighters and more prepared deployers for combatant commanders. Don't make the mistake of thinking your process has to involve hundreds of people to make a huge impact. Your idea might not need all the tools and meetings of a formal AFSO21 event. For example, Senior Airman Shevaun Kendall streamlined the Senior Airman Below-the-Zone process, which will have a huge time saving impact. She's reducing administrative burdens while getting board results out faster. It was a good idea that was easy to implement.

This applies to your work centers also. Everyone is part of a process with suppliers, customers and results. Look at everything you do and find the unnecessary or procedures that don't add value. Then, focus on the great things your organization is already doing. Those will be the ingredients for your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The Air Force needs you to be hungry for success. That's how we'll make our personnel and budget reductions reconcile with our continuing commitments. Finding McConnell's next peanut butter and jelly sandwich will help ensure that "We Lead."