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The perfect recipe for 'Compliance'

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brian N. Smith
  • 6th Operations Group Deputy Commander
This is not a traditional cooking recipe for cake or corn bread, but rather one for a successful approach to the 6th Air Mobility Wing's year of "conspicuous compliance." Like all recipes, this one contains many ingredients which when combined will culminate in success this November during our Combined Unit Inspection by Air Mobility Command. Each one of the ingredients -- proper planning, honest assessments, documentation and attention to detail contribute to the overall quality and outcome of the product. Leave any of them out or get them out of balance and you'll have a recipe for disaster.

The first important ingredient for success in any large task is proper planning. You must fully understand your task by defining your objectives and understanding its scope. In our case, compliance with Air Force Instructions is a given, but we want to showcase our great programs and practices to the command. This is the "conspicuous" part of our compliance. In order to accomplish this, it is imperative we do a fresh and thorough review of our functional AFIs and their supplements. Many have changed recently and we must make sure our programs and their associated checklists comply with the new versions as well as understand those changes.

The second important ingredient is an honest assessment. Take the time to thoroughly cover every area of your AFIs and programs. Now is the time to identify where you need to incorporate new changes or highlight concerns to get necessary attention. Over the last few months, we had many formal Staff Assistance Visits from both external and internal organizations to help check our progress. However, these don't have to be formal. It is always a good idea to take someone who is not familiar or trained in your functional area to review your checklists and programs. If something doesn't make sense to them, or you have to take a long time to educate them on your answers to questions, you probably haven't fully addressed the concern or may need to rephrase your responses to those checklist items.

The third important ingredient for compliance inspection success is to document your progress. You want to be able to tell your story to the inspectors. Many organizations in the wing truly have Major Command best practices already--take the time along the way to capture your challenges and how you corrected them. In other words, help the inspectors highlight your programs to other wings in Air Mobility Command. Over the years, I've seen great examples of presentations in the form of electronic scrapbooks, slide shows and folders. Whatever the method, it should be easily presentable and deliverable.

Finally, the most important ingredient for success is to pay attention to the details. As in many things--it's the small things that matter most. Don't let poor appearance or attitude jeopardize the impression you leave on the inspection team. Dress and appearance violations, sloppy work areas, improper formats, misspellings, non-standard practices or bad attitudes can change a great inspection into a nightmare.

Mixed in the correct order and balance, these ingredients will proclaim what we already know--the 6th Air Mobility Wing not only leads Air Mobility Command in compliance, but it shines proudly as America's Best Wing!