Military News

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A sandwich and soda with the general

by Capt. Kathleen
Ice


12/17/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- The Air Mobility Command vice commander hosted a "brown bag" lunch Dec. 3 with 22 Airmen to hear their ideas for improvement and update them on the latest command news.

Maj. Gen. Rowayne Schatz said that when he was a young officer, he remembers wondering why certain tasks or policies were created, but he had no way to get real answers.

As a group commander, he changed that and created routine, informal meetings in which Airmen could ask him "why" and express their thoughts. He found that making time for this -- sharing a meal, being honest, looking Airmen in the eyes as they spoke - reaped invaluable feedback. 

"We're all about making the organization better," Schatz said during the brown bag lunch.  "We want to be able to accomplish our mission, but also be able to improve the command for the future.

"We also want you all to be excited to come to work; to be excited about your leadership and the people you work with and to have a good experience."

Schatz opened the lunch meeting by updating the group, ranging from E-3 to O-5, on the latest news.

He said the AMC commander recently reviewed AMC's strategy and "wouldn't be making any major course corrections," because, due to the hard work of the staff the last few years, the command is on track to meet the requirements set forth by the National Security Strategy.

Addressing more practical matters, he reassured the Airmen that changes were planned for the headquarters building, to include a new heating and cooling system and larger entryways in coming years if all gets approved.

There were complaints in a recent climate survey regarding the time it takes AMC staff members to provide information to the Knowledge Management Office.  Schatz explained the "why" behind KMO's taskers.

"KMO is taking a realistic look at all the meetings in the command and how we share information, because right now we're fairly stove-piped.  ... In the end, it should be less work," Schatz said.

After briefing the Airmen on updates, Schatz said, "Let's eat" and opened the floor for discussion.

The risk of commander-Airmen meetings typically is that the Airmen don't become comfortable enough to let their guard down and say what they really think.

But by the end of this exchange, there was regular laughter, and several Airmen were comfortable telling the general what they thought about Air Force and AMC policies.

The group shared ideas such as how to improve the Mobility Air Force aircraft maintenance en-route strategy, and how to improve information sharing across the staff about the various cyber security efforts taking place in each division.

Schatz smiled with each idea brought to the table.

"This is good discussion.  I've got several things to take back to the commander," he said.

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