Working outside comfort zones ensures smooth transition

Lt. Col. Stephen Wood

In the next six to 12 months the members of Team Cannon will be pushed to their “max” to effectively transition to a new organization. Pending the outcome of the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement, Cannon Air Force Base will transition from the 27th Fighter Wing to the 16th Special Operations Wing on Oct. 1.
To make this transition successful all members of Team Cannon – military, civilian, contractors, dependents and members of the community – will need to expand their efforts outside their comfort zones to build new and effective relationships.
Building new and effective relationships will improve communication and minimize the number and impact of issues that “fall between the cracks” and impede transition success. Whether you are a member of a unit that is being deactivated, or a member of a sustaining unit that will remain in place, you can enhance Team Cannon by expanding beyond your day-to-day activities to embrace new challenges. In the best-selling book “Leadership and the New Science,” Margaret Wheatly points out that, “In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.”
We all are comfortable with our roles and functions, but everyone benefits from pushing our current comfort level to encompass the new roles, functions and relationships that this transition brings.
Using a sport analogy, a team is a group of people with a high degree of interdependence geared toward the achievement of a common goal or completion of a task. A team collaborates to reach a shared goal for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Members of a successful team are willing to step outside their defined roles or functions to enhance team performance. This may require additional individual effort, adjustment of roles, or subjugating individual performance to meet the team’s needs. If all the members of our team, military, civilian, contractors, dependents and members of the community, are not willing to make this effort, Team Cannon will not achieve our common goal – a successful transition.
For example, the civil engineer team is required to balance three equally important challenges. First, that the 27th FW mission remains unimpeded. Next, supporting unit deactivation and the resulting facility vacancies, and finally, identification of the incoming wing’s facility requirements and timing to ensure a smooth 16th SOW beddown. However, two thirds of these challenges cannot be successfully accomplished without building new relationships and communicating with all the entities involved.
What are you doing to build new relationships, communicate your requirements and ensure your portion of the transition is progressing smoothly? Are you being a good team member, such as building relationships and expanding your roles and functions to fulfill team Cannon’s goals?
In their book “Thinking About Quality” Lloyd Dobens and Clare Crawford-Mason state; “It is not a question of how well each process works, the question is how well they all work together.” Team Cannon has reached this point. Our individual processes work well. Our success in the coming months will be measured in how well we work together, stretching ourselves to expand efforts outside our comfort zones to build new and effective relationships such that we can easily identify issues that might “fall between the cracks” and impede transition success.