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Maj. George Sanderlin, 21st Space Operations Squadron Detachment 3 commander
Maj. George Sanderlin, 21st Space Operations Squadron Detachment 3 commander
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Pay attention to the little things

Posted 3/5/2013   Updated 3/5/2013 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Maj. George Sanderlin
21st Space Operations Squadron Detachment 3 commander


3/5/2013 - KAENA POINT SATELLITE TRACKING STATION, Hawaii -- Lou Holtz, the former football coach at the University of Notre Dame, once said, "In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention." In our current resource-constrained environment, we face daily challenges of ensuring mission accomplishment while balancing our efforts across numerous support tasks. It becomes instinctive to focus only on the large moving parts and "squeaky wheels" while possibly losing sight of the little things.

Attention to detail directly supports the Air Force core value of excellence in all we do. By focusing on each detail of a task, we ensure it is done correctly and complete the first time. I remember my grandfather saying, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." Through time, I have added a few words to the saying by changing it to "It's worth doing right the first time." With the many demands of our time, no one can afford to accomplish the same task repeatedly. We must accomplish the task correctly the first time. Attention to detail can save a mission, limited resources or even someone's life.

During basic military training, I hated the mundane task of folding my socks and underwear into perfect squares. At first, the task always seemed to be a waste of time with little benefit. I eventually realized those tasks helped me learn discipline and improved my attention to detail. If I could learn to focus on the small tasks even when they didn't seem important, then I could better tackle the details when the tasks proved absolutely essential. A small increase in detail focus can result in a significant return for your efforts.

A few additional examples to help identify opportunities in your workplace:
- Review every step of a technical order procedure, even though you have performed the maintenance task 20 times within the last month.
- Study the prescribed operations checklist to remind you of all key steps before beginning an operational mission.
- Double-check your co-worker's safety harness before he or she climbs the radio tower for maintenance.
- Open up the Tongue and Quill and verify the format of the bullet background paper that you will propose to your commander.
- As emcee for a commander's call or promotion ceremony, make sure you know how to correctly pronounce every name and word within the script.

Every Airman has a desire and responsibility to perform their job duties to the very best of their abilities. Building strong habits of checking the details will greatly improve the overall mission accomplishment and increase team and individual success. Charles Swindoll, a Christian pastor, said, "The difference between something good and something great is the attention to detail."

The Air Force is a team of outstanding professionals dedicated towards producing good results at work, home and in our community. I challenge you to add greater focus on the little things that will help take your results, your mission and your organization to the next level.



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