Deliberately developing our people

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- As I write this, members of Team Patrick-Cape are busily preparing themselves for the launch of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-L mission scheduled Thursday evening aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

This spacecraft will provide tracking, telemetry, command and high bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human exploration missions orbiting Earth. These include NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

As always, and regardless of the mission, it's a thrill to see so many moving launch parts all headed in the same direction - on their way to achieving 100% mission success.

So how do we keep doing this? How do we maintain the world-wide reputation we own as the best at what we do?

The answer is simple.

And that's by deliberately developing our people (one of our three main priorities).

Each group, flight, section and office is different, but we all need some kind of plan to make this concept a reality, so I ask leaders to consider these steps.

First, take a look at your unit. Where do you want them to be? Think both long- and short-term solutions.

Second, get some input from your employees. You don't have all the answers. Think "ignite innovation" here.

Third, find out what skills your employees have. Then find out what they need help with. Help them work on the latter.

Fourth, develop some kind of plan that will get all your employees "from there to here." A well-thought-out plan provides your employees with opportunities and clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance their careers. It's called win-win.

Fifth, implement the newly learned skills in your workplace sooner rather than later. This will help them reinforce and refine their new skills, and possibly re-define their individual duties.

Team, please understand that "deliberate development" is simply a way to train, educate, mentor, lead, and grow people -- with purpose! Individually tailored for individual needs. Growing our people has been a cornerstone of the United States Air Force from our very beginnings.

It's our job to ensure this legacy of learning is passed on to those who will follow us.

Stay focused Sharks!