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Fortune favors the bold, not the reckless

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Over the last decades, the Air Force became a force increasingly concerned with not losing rather than winning. A risk-adverse organization stunts its own ability to become innovative and agile from its largest commands to its most fundamental organizations. The Air Force’s recent focus on revitalizing the squadron aims to turn that reality on its head and achieve a previously unattainable level of lethality.

Throughout my 14-year career, I have seen one initiative after another, but in my judgement, revitalizing the squadron is critical and requires much more from Airmen than other initiatives. I believe bold leadership is the single most important factor in achieving Gen. David Goldfein’s vision.

It is essential to develop bold leaders across all ranks and mentor them to be bold while not being reckless. It is easy to make snap judgements and uninformed decisions that can be viewed as decisive, but fail to achieve the desired outcome and in some cases generate mistrust or even put Airmen recklessly in harm’s way.

Bold leaders combine the willingness to gain proper perspective and the courage to assume calculated risk. You must seek guidance where appropriate and be decisive in your decisions. It is important to seek input from subordinates, peers, mentors, and leaders senior to you. These sources provide critical perspective a leader will not have on their own. Know when enough council is enough, and not only make your decision, but an informed decision.

Airmen, we need you to lead at every level. The decisions you make will not always be right, but learn from your mistakes and continue to push the envelope. Most importantly, you must assume the risk and allow the Airmen under you to be bold leaders at their level as well.

Airmen will never achieve an agile and lethal force if they do not try; fortune favors the bold.