Pursuing Greatness Through Leadership

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- What does greatness look like in leadership, especially during turbulent times of overwhelming chaos and stress throughout the world? As leaders, how do we increase our capacity to pursue greatness through leadership during these times?

These are questions that many of our leaders today are trying to answer and many of our leaders of yesterday faced and answered with action. Not only did those leaders talk the talk but they walked the walk and as a result they became what we term exemplary leaders. In other words they became our great leaders.

People that generally come to mind when we think of great leaders are those such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., General Douglas McArthur, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, Cesar Chavez, Gandhi, etc.

Gandhi stated, "as human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves." Considering these inspiring words and the impact of this exemplar leader on the world, I would offer to my fellow leaders of today the idea of collaborating, in a co-operative inquiry process. I recommend we collaborate with others who share similar interests and concerns as we do in our efforts to develop new knowledge in education, community development and organizational development.

Researchers John Heron and Hilary Bradbury quote fellow researcher Peter Reason in their book "The Handbook of Action Research" by stating "cooperative inquiry is a way of working with other people who have similar concerns and interests to yourself, in order to: (1) understand your world, make sense of your life and develop new and creative ways of looking at things; and (2) learn how to act to change things you may want to change and find out how to do things better."

I would argue that in this cooperative inquiry process we may find our individual greatnesses and our ability to influence change in education, our communities and our organizations. In this process, we just might become leaders-in-action, find our greatness and remake ourselves. In turn, following the words of Gandhi, we can "be the change that we want to see in the world."

My fellow Air Force leaders, as we continue to deliver on our promise by pushing the Flywheel and raising the bar that the Air National Guard Office of Cultural Leadership and Development has set for us, continue the Flywheel Momentum by interweaving these points into your agendas for all meetings and monthly roll-calls:

- From Heritage to Horizons, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Heroes like Billy Mitchell, and Doolittle, Spaatz, and Rickenbacker Heroes who faced and beat incredible odds. We have inherited a history of excellence, courage, and Greatness. We must live up to that heritage, become a part of it, and pass it on.

- The Air Force's greatest resource is our Airmen. Many of you may have worked side by side with Airmen that have inspired, encouraged and challenged you. Know without a doubt that Airmen are our greatest resource! How do we continue to attract the best Airmen to accomplish great deeds?