Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Absorb mode

As some of you might remember from my last blog, which was oh so many days ago, I am currently serving at Andrews Air Force Base as the chief of public affairs there. I am a reservist and have a special job of augmenting that position when the active duty person who would normally be there can't be.

In this case, he is deploying to Afghanistan, and even though I had the opportunity to go in his place, I declined and am instead filling his seat at the home office. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to go to Afghanistan. I've actually been trying to go since 9/11. I almost deployed there in 2006, but got diverted to Kyrgyzstan instead. That turned out to be a great deal! But, right now is just not a good time for me to go.

Working at Andrews, however, is a super deal. It's only about a 20-minute commute from my house, I worked there for a few months last year so I'm familiar with the drill and, of course, I get to put on my uniform and serve my country.

Coming in to lead a very busy office that is just about to go through some major transitions has been very interesting. We have DoD's largest air show coming up this weekend. We will get a new commander a few weeks after that. We have some folks who have been in the office the longest leaving for retirement and new jobs (and of course, nobody new coming in to replace them). And then there's me. A completely different leadership style than my troops are used to and a different hairstyle, too. I mean, I even change my hairstyle from day to day: straight, curly, up, down. It can be very confusing.

So I've been in absorb mode for the past week. I'm just taking everything in and getting a feel for the pace and nature of things. I've never been one to just go into an office and start changing things immediately. I've got to talk to the people who know things. Observe relationships. Find out what the most important issues are. Learn the best ways of communicating with all the important parties. Figure out whose refrigerator I can put my lunch in without danger of it being thrown away (that one's for you, SMSgt Land).

But this mode will only last for a few more days, then it's go time. We've got so much to do, problems to solve, worlds to save, you know!

So I hope it's ok if my blogs seem more work related than the baby ones you might have come here for. Oh! Speaking of the baby-- Baby Z is still with a respite home, but now it looks like he will be going home to his grandma next week, so he probably won't come back to us. I'm sad our time was so short, but am glad they were able to work it out for him to go home to his family. For whatever reason, we didn't get to develop any kind of relationship with his family, so it's highly unlikely we'll get to see him again after he goes home. I am going to try to sneak down to his respite home and give him a few goodbye kisses.

That's how it is with most people, though, right? We're never promised tomorrow with anyone, so we have to pour out all the love we have for them today.

What about you? What's your leadership style when it comes to change? Why don't people ever answer the questions I ask here at the end of my blogs?


  1. When it comes to change in my line of work, my leadership style is to pass it off to someone else to do, but usually there is no one else to do it, so that just leaves me to do the changing.
    I usually don't have the answers to your questions, so I like to think of them as being rhetorical. Love you

  2. Ask your troops what they would like to see changed.

  3. I've never been in that situation, so I couldn't say. Maybe after hiring a maid and having her work and changing the way she does things, I can answer you. I think being clear from the beginning about what you want is what I'm hearing from other Foreign Service friends though.

  4. When it comes to change, I pretty much dive in as fast and as hard as I can. Then I wind up a little exhausted, but usually feel like I have a good grip on things.


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