Standards and discipline key to excellence

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Mark D. Marson
  • 18th Wing Command Chief
"Be tough! Set your standards high and insist that your people measure up. Have the courage to correct those who fail to do so!" ~ Retired Gen. Louis L. Wilson Jr., Former PACAF commander

Have you ever been a part of an organization that earned an "Outstanding" rating from the Inspector General? Have you ever been assigned to an organization that was recognized as "Best in Command" or "Best in Air Force"?

I have had the good fortune to be a part of several organizations that earned such ratings and accolades. As the senior enlisted leader of those organizations, I attribute our team's success to many things including two areas I would like to highlight here today ... standards and discipline.

Let me outline a few basic standards common to all: As professionals, we don't violate established directives including Air Force- and unit-level guidance. We have read and understand the rules, and we need to FOLLOW THEM ALL; that's Integrity First. People must attain and maintain a skill-level commensurate with their rank and position. We have to look and act like professionals dedicated to a calling, who have answered their Nation's call and are willing to correct those who fail to measure up. Our vehicles, equipment and other resources are treated as if they are our very own. Facilities and housing units need to be clean, safe and secure; our leaders conduct visits to ensure our people's needs are met -- Quality of Life is a must.

Would just issuing standards be good enough? It has been said standards are one as good as the paper they are written on if they are not enforced. In military terms, discipline constitutes this enforcement. discipline, can come from several different places. It can come from within ourselves as self-discipline (the best form), it can come from our peers (not wanting to let them down), it can come from a task ("this task is so important that I must do it right") or it can come from someone else and be imposed (the least preferred method). Typically if a standard is not met, it is already time for imposed discipline because all the other forms have broken down, and the standard has not been met. If discipline is not imposed, the standard is worthless. Without discipline, there is no need to establish standards and units will falter/fail putting our great Nation at risk.

The bottom line is ... The effective use of standards and discipline is what enables us to accomplish our mission and achieve Excellence In All We Do. As Airmen, we must have the integrity to correct those who fail to exercise Discipline and remain mindful to save our highest praises for those who are Truly Among The Best!