Thursday, November 10, 2011

COMMENTARY>>Relationships generate results

By Chief Master Sgt. Brian Stevens
314th Maintenance Group

Recently I found myself at the barbershop and realized how long I had been going to the same place and the same barber (almost 15 years). The thing is I know there are closer and cheaper places to get my hair cut, but we have built a relationship of trust over time. He knows how I like my hair cut and that I’m usually in a hurry, we Americans tend to be very bottom line orientated and mission focused. Then it dawned on me, these types of committed relationships bring results that produce success in every aspect of life.

I continued to think about this as I recently attended a noncommissioned officer academy graduation at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. I was running the track around the flightline, affectionately known as I-81, and my mind started pondering this relationships-equals-results hypothesis.

For example, the first time I was at Keesler AFB was in the 1980s when I attended a six-week communications school. It was a great time, and I also learned a few things and built up my network of contacts. Fast forward a few years to Operation Desert Shield, and I’m at King Khalid International Airport north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when I get a phone call from my old school instructor. He’s gone back to his original career field, and is now part of the Gen. Charles Horner’s, the then U.S. and Allied Air Operations commander, flying crew. My contact says his aircraft has a navigational aid problem he’s trying to fix, found out I was in the area, and said he needed my help. I immediately got to work, and a little while later I was able to get him the parts and test equipment he needed to fix the aircraft. Relationship = results.

The next time I was at Keesler AFB was 1997, and I was attending the Mathies NCO-Academy. Once again I learned a few things, had a great time and built even more contacts. Fast forward a few years again, and now I’m at Osan Air Base, Republic of South Korea. One of the folks I worked with had a death in her family. We needed to get her on an aircraft back to the states as soon as possible. I called over to the transportation squadron to see if we could get her to the airport quickly and discovered one of my former classmates was the NCO in charge of the office. With no hesitation, he was able to delay a truck heading to the international airport while my Airman packed, and in less than 20 hours, she was back home. Relationship = results.

By the time I had gone through these memories in my mind and finished my run, a light bulb came on in my mind. Without these connections I wouldn’t have been able to help or be helped. It became very clear that the relationships we make during our lifetimes help us succeed and produce the results we are looking for. Relationships = results!

One of my favorite relationships is with a great American we have right here at Little Rock Air Force Base, retired Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Tucker, 314th Airlift Wing Cost-per-Flying Hour program manager. This man has been a tremendous mentor and resource to me and many other folks here at the base – without him, many things wouldn’t have happened as smoothly or at all.

At the end of this month Tucker will have served our nation as an active-duty Airman and civil servant for 50 years. In that time he has cared for Airman of all ranks and their families.

He still keeps giving, and what he gets in return is fellowship and the knowledge that his relationships are strong enough to help him succeed in whatever needs to be done. Relationship = results.

What relationships do you have in your life and career? Are they strong? Can you rely on your contacts to help you out? Can they rely on you for the same reason? You never know who’s on the other line to help you see results.

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