Written by Lt. Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida
We're back again for another episode of "AFSOC Unfiltered," where Lt. Col. Myron Chivis and I talk about our journey together on the topic of race. In our last episode, we broadly discussed the direction and purpose of AFSOC Unfiltered. This episode provides more context on how I met Lt. Col. Chivis and why I wanted him on my team.
Listen and watch here.
Picking the people who we want on our team is something we do every day--and it can create lasting impressions. In this case, my "team" was the Airmen who would spend the most time with me when I took command of the 1st Special Operations Wing. But 'picking your team' can apply to just about any situation--whom do we befriend? Whom do we mentor? Whom do we help? From whom do we solicit advice? This is a concept that can apply to everyday life.
Which brings me to my point. It seems when it's time to select candidates for career-enhancing positions or when we we look for high-performing individuals, sometimes we tend to pick the people who remind us most of ourselves. Naturally, I think the people with the most potential are the people who think like me, who confirm my assumptions, who approach problems the way I do. The challenge is to recognize this human tendency and think about what we NEED, and not simply what we WANT or what makes us most comfortable.
A boss of mine once said 'Ducks tend to pick ducks.'
To address the tendency, I'd invite you to listen to the discussion on the concept of a 'best-qualfied' candidate versus a 'well-qualified' candidate. All too often, we allow ourselves to reduce a candidate to a record and find the 'shiniest penny.' When we do that, we often overlook the people who could round out our winning team and provide visibility into our own personal blind spots.
Take a look around; who's your team?