By Master Sgt. Gabriel A. Gonzalez, Leading Change TeamAugust 15, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 15, 2013) -- Why should little old me lead change? That is probably a question anyone asks themselves when they hear of the Leading Change Team.
While I have been involved with the LCT for more than two years, I find myself still struggling to express to people why it exists. While the team has worked on a vision and guiding principles, it has failed in answering clearly the reason it exists.
This fascination with why came about when I was introduced to a video by Simon Sinek and later his book, "Start with Why." In his book, he posits that in order to maintain a strong, successful and lasting organization, members must clearly understand why they do what they do. This also applies equally to those who consume that organization's product or service.
The reasoning behind this is actually biological. To keep this simple, the bottom line is control of our feelings and decision-making abilities, but not language, lie in our primitive brain. He uses the words "feel" or "believe," and these are words that are not tangible, but conceptual and emotional. I do not want to spoil the entire book in this article, so I encourage you to read this book.
The connection is that if you can explain a feeling or a concept to others, they will make your cause theirs. This is because they believe what you believe and regardless of any other factors, you will stay with this organization or consume its products or services as long as they continue to believe what you believe.
With all this in mind, I set out to answer the questions: "Why lead change?" or "Why should I support the Leading Change Team?"
I formed my answer over the last several months as the nation's budget crisis and cuts moved from concept to reality. We are beginning to see secondary and tertiary effects not imagined in the mitigation of sequestration, which adds angst and anger about the future. What became apparent to me in these hard times is that this is nothing new to the American Soldier, or Americans in general.
In our storied 237 year history, the United States has been through hard times: the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the war on terrorism to name a few. Why did the nation, in such dire times, remain? The answer struck me like a bolt of lightning. Americans felt strongly about their country and their way of life; they believed in something greater than their own livelihoods. We define this in sociological terms as patriotism.
Webster defines patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country." This love is not something that can be physically touched, but rather something that only a person's heart can understand. It's like when you say, "I love my children," and someone says, "Prove it." It cannot be weighed or measured, but you know it exists because you feel it. What you do in response to why is care for your Family, protect them and improve them. This same love can be applied to our country and in the context of this article, the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker.
Having explained myself, I will now share my answer to my stated question. I lead change because I feel a sense of pride in guiding USAACE and Fort Rucker onto a path that leads to greater success and prosperity. I support the Leading Change Team because I believe that being a citizen of this great Nation takes more than just paying taxes and electing officials. It takes hard work, cooperation, and sacrifice -- just like our founding fathers and all the other great Americans that followed their example.
We expect so much to be given to us, but I think we lose sight of the fact that it takes hard work and dedication to make these things come to fruition. I believe in improving organizations knowing that I will not be paid or otherwise acknowledged for doing so, and I am content.
Now it comes to it. Why should you care about this article? Why should the LCT cause be your cause?
If we honestly take stock of ourselves, we may find that we are not doing all we can to make the Army, USAACE and Fort Rucker, as Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, says, "a better place to live, work and raise a Family."
This is a team effort and, collectively, we can make things better to that end. Laziness and indiscipline are our enemies and we need to work as a team to combat them. The deeper and much more difficult reasoning is that many of us, to include myself, are frustrated with the way things are right now. We say things like, "What can I do?" or "Who would listen to me?" My answer is, the LCT will.
Having worked with the team for more than two years now, I can say that it is making a difference. To the public eye, members seem to be taking baby steps forward, but there is much more going on behind the scenes. The tasks we are taking on range from local to strategic, and the time and energy it takes increases exponentially as the scope widens.
The LCT is committed to changing USAACE and Fort Rucker, and just as a baby learns to take bigger steps and becomes more confident in that task, so will the LCT with your help.
This is much more than an initiative or fad. The LCT believes that the culture must change, which means people must change. No one likes changing something, nor is it easy if people have done something the same way for years.
We do not desire to change things for change's sake. We desire to change things because the status quo is not working. Look at the larger world around us -- the status quo is not working. We need real change, but it starts with each of us.
I challenge you to ask yourself this question and answer it honestly: Am I OK with the way things are, or are there better ways to do it? This question, if you take it seriously, requires you to make an honest effort to evaluate yourself and garner the input of others around you, which requires you to be open-minded and open to criticism.
Change is uncomfortable and requires discipline to continue through the discomfort to reach the desired outcome. In some cases, we don't need to change something, and that is OK, but be strong and determined to change things you feel need to be changed.
The LCT is here to help and we believe in empowering people to be champions of change who will make a marked difference in the status quo. As the commanding general said in a meeting with the LCT recently, 'It isn't a job, it's a quest.' Join us on our quest, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing little old you made a difference.