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116th Air Control Wing leaders look ahead

During the last day of the 116th Air Control Wing Strategic Planning Event, wing leadership broke into five working groups and each created a “vivid description” of what each one of it's stakeholders (people, customers, suppliers, process information flow and enterprise leadership) would see and experience after the wing achieved it's 5-year vision. From left to right: Col. Dan Zachman, Col. Lois Stark and Chief Master Sgt. Ron Wilder review another group’s work for suggested changes or additions to the plan.

During the last day of the 116th Air Control Wing Strategic Planning Event, wing leadership broke into five working groups and each created a “vivid description” of what each one of it's stakeholders (people, customers, suppliers, process information flow and enterprise leadership) would see and experience after the wing achieved it's 5-year vision. From left to right: Col. Dan Zachman, Col. Lois Stark and Chief Master Sgt. Ron Wilder review another group’s work for suggested changes or additions to the plan.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- With recent budget and manpower cuts across the Air Force serving as a catalyst, leadership from the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base spent four days in a Strategic Planning event going over organizational issues ranging from morale, training and increased operational effectiveness to driving under the influence prevention and energy conservation.

The event was put together by the AFSO21 Advisor for the wing and operations group, Maj. Fred Massey. Walking leadership through the strategic planning process was facilitator James Rowland, Director of Consulting Services for Simpler Consulting Inc.

"The main goal is to get the entire organization focusing in the same direction," said Mr. Rowland. "So what we really try to do is articulate our path and direction of where we want to go and make sure all the activities that we do are focused towards achieving that goal."

The event brought leadership together with a focused approach toward implementing positive changes over a five year period.

"We now have a focused effort for progressing to where we would like to be in the next five years," said Col. Jones. "It's helped us all sit down and have the opportunity to collectively define a common vision."

Through this event leadership has comprised not only a plan for where the wing should be in five years but a plan on how to get there and how to monitor progress along the way.

"We're trying to develop measured, methodical plan so that we can monitor progress along the way," said Col. Jones. "We're defining the destination, as well as the road we want to follow. With this plan, we'll be able to measure our effectiveness towards meeting our goals, and change direction if it's required to ensure our success. We'll hopefully come out of this with a plan that'll focus everyone in the wing towards the goal that we're working for."

Making a strategic plan for the future of the wing was a necessity to leadership.

"One of the key drivers necessitating the event is the reduction in resources we're all faced with." said Col. Jones. "The cuts in personnel and the budget means we have to find more efficient ways to do our day-to-day jobs. What LEAN and AFSO21 does is provide a methodology for us to assess our processes. In four days we've been able to break down, at a strategic level, some very complex issues into bite size actionable elements that we can work on at a methodical pace set over time. We'll be able to collectively meet this long-term five year objective we've set for ourselves."

One of the key focal points of the meeting was the wing's core value.

"We've really tried to focus on 'what's the primary purpose of the wing,'" said Col. Jones. "'What's the core purpose we're here for -- to include both our federal and state missions?' We're developing action plans across the board to specifically target areas we need to improve on to make sure we're able to meet that core purpose."

After focusing on the purpose of the 116th's mission the next step is to determine a vision for what the wing should be.

"One of the key things that we've established is our vision for five years from now," said Col. Jones. "Our goal that we're going to march towards is to be 'A world class organization that the Air Force recognizes as the benchmark for Total Force Integration'. We want the Department of Defense to recognize that this is not only the accepted but the approved methodology to integrate the Armed Forces."

Although wing leadership will not be able to forestall the occurrence of budget reductions and manpower reorganizations, their work in setting a destination which the wing can navigate toward will hopefully help lessen the detrimental effects of any future cuts. By articulating strategic objectives and clearly stating the wings core purpose, leadership's vision of being "A world class organization that the Air Force recognizes as the benchmark for Total Force Integration" can transform from an audacious goal into reality.