By Lt. Col. Nate ”A+12” Allerheiligen
314th Airlift Wing Readiness director
A staff assistance visit is a great way to get a check-up for your shop and help ensure you are on the right track.
During a SAV, an outside agency, such as your functional manager from higher headquarters, comes and reviews your programs and processes. The feedback is invaluable for ensuring your shop is good to go.
Several units across the base have already received SAVs, and a few more will be getting them in the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, it is too late to coordinate for a higher headquarters SAV prior to our operational readiness inspection, but you can coordinate a SAV with your counterparts here on base. In fact, the base will have a cross-command unit-compliance inspection SAV Nov. 13-16 to help us prepare.
When an inspector comes to visit you, it’s best to put your best foot (or boot) forward. It all starts from the initial contact. Make an appointment with your inspector, save them a place to park, meet them at the door and offer them some refreshments (if available). The key is to treat them with honor and respect — hopefully like you do every other visitor to your shop.
Get ready to brag on your shop once you start the interview. Give them bullet-background papers on your programs. Show them your strengths, how you do things well and teach them about your processes.
It is unwise to leave an inspector alone — it provides too much opportunity for them to dig. The better strategy is to overwhelm them with your expertise. They’ll stop and ask questions if they need other information. Once you are done, don’t just leave them. Rather, if practical, walk them to their next appointment.
The “SAV”y person will learn these techniques to “wow” their inspectors and be postured for that illusive “Outstanding” grade!