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Australian Air Force Values

One of the good things about being a chaplain in a training environment is that it gives me the opportunity to go back to basics. One of the presentations I was working with looks at the meaning and application of the Defence Values. I will not embarrass you by expecting you to know them so here they are:

Professionalism –striving for excellence,

Loyalty – commitment to each other, our leaders and our nation,

Integrity – doing what is right,

Courage – the strength of character to do what needs to be done,

Innovation – actively looking for better ways of doing business, and

Teamwork – working together with respect and trust for the benefit of all.

It seems to me that most of the training processes cover them pretty well, though this week I was challenged to ponder the second last one – “innovation”. How do we do that when everything seems to be so regimented and inflexible?  Do we really reward those of our members who are creative? Sadly it seems to me that maybe we have lost the balance and stiffled this core value.

How do we become more creative and innovative? Ponder the following:

Challenge the norms – ask why do we do it like this? Maybe technology has moved the goal posts?

Reflect – allow time to see the big picture and be game enough to ask is this the best way of doing it?

Explore – look at all the alternatives, options and opinions. Go and get the expert advice from outside the system.

Assess – do the risk analysis, what we are doing may be the cheapest but is it the safest or the best for other reasons?

Test – can you demonstrate your findings to prove your case? Do you need more resources to make a better informed decision?

Elaborate – define the steps of how to introduce this change and what it will cost. How will you measure success or failure?

We live in an age of rapid change and conflicting messages, and all too often the threat of failure has overshadowed the possibility of success and thus stifled innovation. If we are going to be able to move forward and pursue excellence then we need to get a good balance with all the Defence Values!

Chaplain Ian S Whitley

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