TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - When I talk to our airmen in the 821st Contingency Response Group, I constantly emphasize that I want them to “own their mission.”
Owning your mission is an attitude. It is taking responsibility for something and placing your personal stamp on it. It is having confidence in yourself and your team’s abilities to see what needs to be done, and doing it no matter the challenges along the way. Owning your mission is active. It is not waiting around for someone to tell you what to do. It is understanding what needs to be done and doing it, then figuring out what else needs to get done and doing that.
Owning your mission is leadership at all levels, from the front-line worker through the commander. Everyone is responsible for making sure their part of the mission succeeds. When you truly own your mission, you understand where it fits into the overall mission.
That’s the ideal and the goal I want our airmen to strive to attain. However, owning your mission doesn’t mean you will always succeed. On the contrary, you will likely fail and flail some along the way. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t need or can’t seek help. There will be barriers and roadblocks encountered that need clearing by someone else. Resources, support and mentorship are essential to success. That’s how we own our mission up the chain.
Not everyone has the desire and fortitude to lead themselves or others, or perform and be responsible to the level where they are owning their mission. That’s okay, because we have enough airmen that do. We have airmen stepping up to tackle tough, complex problems and knocking their mission out of the park. You see them around the squadron and can point out who they are. Hopefully, you are one of them because we need you to be. We need to reward those airmen who are. I think our system is designed to do that. It allows leadership to identify and reward airmen who are owning their mission by giving them increased promotion potential to higher responsibility. It’s precisely those airmen who own their mission that we need at the highest levels.