60 seconds can change careers and save lives

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. David Nordel
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief
Some of you have heard me quote a line give to me by a very wise man: "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care about them." You can go a long way to establishing that in a quick 60 to 90 seconds of your day. Let me explain, I was in the office of the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force with 15 fellow Command Chiefs and as he was addressing us, he felt it necessary to go through a 60-second drill where he asked one of us a simple question - How old are you? Do you have brothers and sisters? Where did you grow up? Are your parents still alive and what do they do? And a few others. I could see where he was going with this and I took a mental note. Then one day, while talking to a very sharp Airman in our wing I asked a question about what he would do if he were an NCO today...and he said "I would have a personal relationship (not unlike the one the CMSAF was talking about) with my Airmen. Not unprofessional or too familiar but know something about them other than just work or Air Force related issues." So because of that, some of you have seen me do the 60 to 90 second drill in an open format to make a point. So why am I writing this article now? 

Because it has never been more important for us to spend those 60 to 90 seconds letting our fellow Airmen know that we care. People are more inclined to share their problems and in rough times allowing us to be able to help, intervene or fix a problem!
The Air Force has experienced an increase in suicides. One of the significant contributors to suicide attempts is relationship issues. If you don't have that personal relationship with your Airmen (the one my sharp Airman pointed out to me) you may miss an opportunity for this person to share his or her issues and let you help, versus the alternative... 

This is just one positive impact you can get from those 60 to 90 seconds and probably the most dramatic but you also have second order effects like commitment, productivity, retention of good Airmen, building of better, more capable leaders and many other positive outcomes. So the next time you are needing a break from the norm...carve out 60 to 90 seconds for that Airman and find out something about them and show them that you care. As I said "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care about them." 

Proud to serve with each of you!