All parts working together to achieve success
By Lt. Col. Dee Katzer, 47th Civil Engineering Squadron commander
/ Published March 08, 2011
LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
As the leader of any organization a top priority is to develop a team that delivers a dependable, high quality product in a timely manner. When looking at what it takes to build a great team or a successful organization, many analogies have been used such as championship sports teams, racecar pit crews and even the human body. The premise of all of these examples is not only the significance of the individual parts, but just as importantly, how the pieces are molded together to be successful, whether that means winning the big game, the championship race or simply keeping the body alive and functioning. All of these analogies are good examples, but I think an illustration that even more clearly demonstrates the importance of teamwork in achieving success is that of a Swiss watch.
Although a Swiss watch typically has an eye-catching appearance, these watches are famous for their precision time keeping. Their beauty and style are only a front to their true function of delivering a reliable service, the exact time of day. Most organizations are similar in that you often only see or interact with a small fraction of the organization. Much like the Swiss watch, your interaction point, usually in the form of some customer service function, is not the primary reason you're visiting an organization, but it needs to be welcoming and pleasant. Your expectation for the organization is also similar to the wearer of a Swiss watch. You want quality, dependable service. Organizations are judged on their dependability, or their ability to meet the customer's needs in a timely manner. However, also much like the Swiss watch, the real service you've come to the organization for is performed behind the scenes by a team.
That behind the scenes service highlights the second aspect of the Swiss watch that an outstanding organization must possess and that is individual pieces that work together perfectly. The way a Swiss watch provides the reliable service its wearer depends on is through the intricate interaction of numerous unique, precise pieces. Each of these pieces has a very specific role, and each piece is essential in keeping the watch operating. More importantly, every individual piece of the watch has to work together perfectly in order to provide the reliability that is expected. No part can be out of synch or missing, and a worn part will negatively affect the rest of the watch and degrade the dependability. Every piece of the watch, down to the smallest spring or screw, is critical in ensuring that the machine provides dependable time keeping.
Organizations, like watches, must have all of the parts (people) working together toward the same objective to be successful. If there is a bad apple, or someone not on the train, then the overall performance of the organization is affected. That degradation may not be immediately noticeable on the surface, but eventually the dependability or the quality of the service being provided will be impacted. Also like a watch, every person in an organization is important regardless of who they are, where they came from or what their skill level is. Each person's unique talents contribute to the overall performance of the team and every other part depends on each other to be successful. Success for the organization is achieved when all of those varied pieces perform their specific role to the best of their ability in synch with every other piece around them. Finally, for an organization, it is the responsibility of the leadership team, like the watchmaker, to carefully select the parts to construct a timepiece that is not only nice looking but dependable for the long term.
Although our work centers, flights and squadrons are not as intricate as a fine Swiss watch, it is clear they are very similar in a number of their characteristics. Hopefully this analogy has provided another way to view the important roll that each person in an organization plays to make your unit as appealing to interact with and as dependable in your delivery as a fine Swiss watch. Be that dependable piece in your organization and do your part to make your organization successful.