by Capt. Kathleen Ice
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
12/28/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Four
generals and a dozen lieutenants and captains exchanged ideas during a
"speed mentoring" event Dec. 21, 2015, hosted by the Scott Air Force
Base Company Grade Officers Council.
Chairs were positioned in groups of small circles around the room, and
every fifteen minutes, three or four CGOs would rotate to the next
general's circle for easy conversation.
"I got a lot of good advice," said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Hough, a
requirements manager at Air Mobility Command who arrived at Scott AFB in
October. "It was great hearing their four different perspectives and
being able to ask questions in a relaxed environment."
For Hough, the most helpful advice came from Brig. Gen. Stacy Hawkins, AMC director of logistics.
"We talked about how to balance family, kids, social and work life," she
said. "He brought up a good point that balance is very important, but
you may not have all those things at one time. You may have to focus on
work for a while; and other times you can focus on family. It's about
realizing that everything has its own timing."
Each CGO asked the generals questions. One asked AMC Commander Gen. Carlton Everhart about managing organizational change.
As a large military organization, the Air Force has a lot of momentum
and can be resistant to change, said Capt. Dolan, 375th Civil Engineer
Squadron engineering flight deputy. "How do you get that big momentum
to start shifting?"
The AMC commander suggested Dolan read about different philosophies of
change management now, early in his career, because he likely won't
learn about it in professional development until he pins on colonel.
"The bottom line is answering the 'WIFM', or 'what's in it for me?'"
Everhart said. "Communicate the way you want people to go. If they
understand what's in it for them and that it's a better direction, you
can get their buy-in. Then they'll tell two friends, and those people
will tell two friends, and things start to happen.
Trust is an important currency when it comes to leading large
organizations, said Brig. Gen. Randall Reed, deputy director of AMC
Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs.
As soon as the next rotating group sat down in his circle, Reed tossed a worn, brown leather wallet into someone's lap.
The general said he's been using the wallet most of his career and never
worries if he accidentally leaves it behind, because he trusts who he's
"I don't think I can do that in many places," Reed said to laughter.
"We're part of something special because of one thing: trust."
"I need you to become the individual leaders that we can trust," said
the general. "Build organizations that people can trust. That's the
air force that I have grown up in and love.
As a junior officer, tactical skill will give you credibility and carry
you for a while, he said; but as you progress through the ranks, your
leadership effectiveness becomes more and more about reputation.
"Once you have that trust, guard it fiercely," Reed said.
Many generals reminded the lieutenants to first focus on learning and becoming good at their jobs.
As a brand-new lieutenant at his first flying squadron, 18th Air Force
Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Cox said he remembered how his C-141 squadron
used dots on name tags at the scheduling desk to reflect crew
There were only three pilots that had accrued 16 dots, and they were
qualified in every mission of the C-141 and the most respected in the
"I learned early on that's what I wanted," Cox said. "Not to have bling
on a nametag, but be the best I could be. "Do the mission and have
fun. Be positive about what you get to do."
The Scott CGOC received positive feedback from its first speed mentoring
event in June with several colonels, so Capt. Laura Sturdevant
organized this event with general officers.
She will permanently change stations next month, but there are tentative
plans to offer speed mentoring quarterly or semiannually, perhaps
inviting chiefs as well as newly pinned field grade officers with
promotion board tips.
"Hopefully it will outlast me,"Sturdevant said.