Air Force Talent Management Update, 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference

Air Force Talent Management Update, 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference

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– AFA’s President, Lieutenant
General Orville Wright. (applause) – Well, good afternoon. We certainly saved the best and
the most important for last. This is your AFA president
having so much fun I wanted to keep you all
around as long as I could. So thanks for (laughs) being here. This is the last session of your Air Force Association’s Air
Space and Cyber Conference. And the topic of this session is Air Force Talent Management update. Nothing, absolutely
nothing is more critical than having the most
lethal and most capable Air Force on the planet, than recruiting, developing, and retaining the right men and women
as its leaders and doers. Talent management incorporates more than just a promotion system. And our two distinguished
panelists will discuss developmental category
reconfiguration, recruitment, and the overall Air Force
Talent Management process. Our two panelists this afternoon are ready to provide brief remarks
and answer your questions, and we have a really neat
kind of a question system here that Mike’s gonna help
me with that actually gets at which questions
are most repeated, I think. So without further delay, please welcome, Lieutenant General Brian Kelly, Deputy Chief of staff of
Manpower Personnel and Services, and his wing man, Colonel
Jason B “Ned Stark” Lamb, Director of Intelligence
Analysis and Innovation, Headquarters Air Education
and Training Command. General Kelly, over to you. Welcome. (applause) – Well, thanks everybody. And Orville, thanks to you guys in AFA for allowing us to have this forum and it became such a great event for our United States Air Force, so thanks for doing that. Good afternoon everybody, I know Orville said we
saved the best for last, but we certainly appreciate
you guys sticking around. We know when we’re in the last
slot before the event ends, either your car is not working or you got the last airline reservation. So thanks for sticking
around for what we think is a really important topic. This topic, and you’ve heard
sort of themes this week from lots of folks. But I’ll start from where
the chief started before. When we think about the
National Defense Strategy and we talked a lot this week
about the Air Force we need, and we talked about the
operational concepts that are gonna have to be in place, right? Multi-domain command
and control operations. Those kind of things that we talked about. You heard us come back to,
and you heard Chief Wright bring up in his discussion today, that no matter what we do in those areas, it’s gonna be about people, right? And so we have been
looking forward and saying, as we look at the
National Defense Strategy, we look at the talent market. All things that are out there. What is the nation gonna need from us in terms of the skillsets
that we bring forward in our airmen? And more importantly for us, do we have the right
Talent Management system in place to make sure that we can develop and put the airmen forward
to satisfy our portion, to join portion for our Air Force in the National Defense Strategy? In doing that, it was
really important for us to look far and wide in all
places for kinds of ideas. There was no market on good ideas, and we certainly don’t
have them all in the A1. So we have been going out
and been very collaborative over the last couple of years. And looking for lots of
feedback from the force, getting feedback from our
airmen, from industry. Lots of different places, to try and put these things together. We did the revitalizing Squadron
Report that the Chief lead, and got a lot of feedback from the field, and got a lot of efforts there. We held work force summits
with representatives from all our MAJCOMs and industry over the last two years to sort of come up with
these different things and talk about these key concepts. And then, when you
looked out in the world, you wanted to be able to
include and talk to anybody who had a thoughtful voice. People who are actually putting
thought, and deep thought, into where we needed to go. Not just about fixing maybe problems or irritants in the past,
but what do we need to do to transform our Talent Management
system, make it go forward? And that’s where we
met Colonel Jason Lamb. So Jason and I have
actually known each other for a longer period than when
he came out as Ned Stark, and we’ve been able to have
conversations back and forth. And exchanged ideas, and do so in an open and
collaborative manner. And it’s been really
helpful, I think, for me, and for our team to be able
to look at those things. Not everything that
Jason may have expelled we have been able to implement. But certainly in a variety of manners, his voice was helpful in
the larger conversation that we had going on
Talent Management reform. That said, I’m gonna get ready to turn it over to Jason here,
he’s gonna give introduction. Just as we’ve always collaborated, I haven’t given Jason any
instruction for what to say today, or what to do today, okay? So he’s gonna give his
remarks and his thoughts, independent thoughts, on
Talent Management where we are. And then I’m gonna come back and sort of tell you guys what we’re doing, and things that we’re excited about, that we’re sort of transforming our Air Force Talent Management. So Jason, over to you. – Thank you, Sir. So, it’s an honor and a
privilege to be here with y’all. I’m very thankful. Especially to you, Sir,
and to General Goldfein. I think many of your peers
think you’ve lost your mind putting me up here without any rules. And if you weren’t looking for candor, you picked the wrong guy. But kinda three things that
I wanna hit really quickly, because I’m more interested to hear what y’all’s questions are,
where that discussion goes. I think there are three
things that we really need to look to when we’re talking about any future Talent Management system. And the first one being, we’ve gotta shift from where we are now to
a growth mindset, okay? The kinda thing that cares about what you can do for the mission, and more importantly, what you
can do for your airmen now. And that we have to move away from the entire concept of
sustain superior performance, which anchors us in the past. That your past is interesting
only as it relates to what you can do today. That your past is not gonna
define or predetermine your path in the Air Force. Or limit you, artificially
propel you to places that you should have never been. So I think, I think
that’ll be really powerful. Things like stratification, one bad strat, one bad interaction, and suddenly you are not in consideration. You may have grown to a place
where we need you to be. And that person who maybe got that strat, maybe decide to sit on their morals, and maybe that isn’t the person
that we need for tomorrow, leading and caring for our airmen. So that’s number one. Two is that we have better discriminators for how we select and promote folks. Right now, you know, on the officer side, we’ve got the stratification
system that we’ve talked about. And it’s okay, but defaulting, you know, or lacking a system that really allows us to discriminate who is doing the best in terms of leading our airmen and making impact on the mission, so I’m excited about the new system that we’re bringing online. We’ve created things like
knowledge based promotion testing, distinguished graduates from school, these, these other. You know, the one million
and one annual awards that we have now. Not to take any, you know. I was one of those. But you know, it’s
gotten to the point now, where we have the red headed
left handed maintainer of the year award. Just because we’re looking for ways to try and tell the people
that we should promote from the people that
maybe aren’t quite ready. And we need to do better
about actually coming up with measures that matter. Actual, objective, variable data. Because that should lead
us to my third point, it’s about accountability. For the things you do,
the things you don’t do, the things you decide,
and the non-decisions. We need a better way to capture that so that we can actually
hold people accountable, have a system that has candor. I don’t know how many times
I have heard people say, “Well, you shouldn’t hire that person, because X happened.” It is nowhere in their records, because somebody was afraid
to slow somebody down, right? So we need a system that
incentivizes candor, because that one mistake
isn’t gonna necessarily define them the rest of their career. Especially if they learn from it, and they’re in a better place today. The last piece on the accountability, one I’m very passionate about is, senior leaders need to be accountable for who they’re pushing into, or hiring into leadership positions, positions of trust. When we hire someone and they get fired for integrity issues, lack of judgment, creating a toxic or
hostile work environment, I promise you it wasn’t the first time that they engaged in those behaviors. And there was a long line
of more senior officers who pushed that individual along. There’s no accountability. There’s no feedback loop. That doesn’t affect our
senior leaders in any way and until there’s an
accountability mechanism and a way to follow up and have actual meaningful consequences, the system isn’t gonna change. Those are just my
thoughts, I could be wrong. So with that I’ll turn it
back over to General Kelly, and I very much look
forward to your questions. (applause) – Well, thanks Jason. I think you articulated
things a lot of us have seen. And it certainly resonates when we talked about the surveys that we did, and the groundwork that we
did to go out in the field and talk to people. And we’ve talked about this,
we squint with out ears. We heard those same things
loud and clear several times. When we think about modernizing
our Talent Management system and transforming our
Talent Management System for what we need to build in the future. We kinda think of it the
context that General Goldfein kinda set out before. At the center of all of it is, we have to have competence and character. We’re a profession of arms,
and we want to make sure that we’re driving our competence in a way that makes sense to us
and that it’s underpinned by the character we know we need to have as professional airmen. That competence piece, and you heard General
Goldfein defined it is. Comes into four areas for us and you’re gonna hear this thing for us. We want to talk about,
what is your contribution to executing whatever mission you have? How do you execute your mission? We want to talk about how you lead people and whether you have a
formal responsibility or informal responsibility. And in that leading people part, we’ll get at those discussions of what is your accountability
in terms of mentoring and identifying your subordinates, and evaluating and
grading your subordinates. Certainly if you are a supervisor, one of the ways that
you’re gonna be graded, in that discussion, is how are you leading the
people that you’re leading? And how are you choosing those people? So that we can have some
accountability to the discussion. Third part managing resources, how you manage your
resources and what you do. And then the fourth part for us is, whatever mission you’ve been
given, whatever your job is, what did you do to improve your unit? How did you move it forward? And those four factors
really form a basis for us to align and synchronize
our Talent Management system around what we value. We’re gonna start with
that on the officer side but I think you’ll see
us eventually move that into the enlisted ranks as well as sort of the foundation of
us saying in a unified manner, this is what we value as
the United States Air Force, and things are going to be
synchronized around that and focused around that. We already have those
four factors by the way, described in what we call the
Memorandum of Instruction. The instruction from the
secretary of the Air Force who controls promotions on the
officer’s side of the house. Her or his instruction that
goes to the promotion board already has those four factors
laid out and describing there as the things that we’re
asking the board to look for in our officers. What we’re doing on the officer evaluation is bringing in a system that
will do those same four factors so that we’re synchronized in line. And I’ll come back and talk about that. But overall in the
Talent Management system, I think there’s four factors
that we have to get at. The system has to be responsive, meaning the inventory that we build, the group of airmen that we have, have to match the requirements we have. I think all of us have seen places where you have too much of one thing, too little of something else. We’ve gotta be responsive, and the inventory has to
match the requirements that are set out for what
we need to be as a Force. It has to be agile, it has to be able to adapt
to threats and change, both at a system level and
on an individual level. And we’ve gotta recognize that
people have different talents and are gonna go different ways. And we need to exploit those
talents and use those talents so it’s not a one size fits all system. Third thing is we have to
empower and drive performance. We wanna be based on performance and what people’s performance,
not other factors. Jason laid out some of
those things, I think. You know, in the past, what
I would call proxy indicators that have sort of come to the forefront when you can’t determine performance. Whether you’ve decided somebody was a DG and somebody wasn’t at a school, and that would propel them forward. Or somebody was an annual award winner. And we want to talk
about your performance, and how you execute your
mission, lead people, manage resources and improve the unit. And the last thing for us, and
it’s really important for us, is we want the system to be much more transparent
and more simple. It needs to be an open
book test in what we do and how we go forward. And that’s really important. So I can say this, it’s my tribe, so I’m allowed to talk
about my tribe a little bit. But we in the A1 over time sort of developed a core competency. We had the badge in making simple hard. We can really make some
pretty simple things as difficult as we could. We’re getting away from that, we’re trying to be more transparent. You know, one good example of that is that Memorandum of Instruction
I just talked to you about. That’s published out there for
the entire Air Force to see. Everybody can read that and everybody can
understand what’s out there. Doing similar things in
assignments to be more transparent. But those are the big four factors. We’ve got a number of programs that we’re gonna talk to you guys about, and hopefully your questions will come in. We’re changing the
officer evaluation system, you’ve heard about that. We already launched and put out there a new way to build, who
are gonna be instructors? Who’s gonna be the folks who teach the next generation of folks command? We called it The Officer Instructor and
Recruiter Special Duty Program. That launched this past Spring. It is designed to help us make sure we value and pick the right people to build the next group of people. We changed our promotion
recommendation forum on the officer’s side to what we call a potential focus promotion
recommendation form, to make sure we had a clear voice and a clear discussion to the board without any extra outside influence. We’re working on and we’ve
been around to road shows to many places. I think we saw 3700 airmen across the Air Force and the
road shows that went out, on developmental categories. How do we reorganize our promotion system so that we can unlock
developmental agility? We have discovered over time, and you guys will probably
resonate with this that, there’s sort of a one size
fits all developmental path. And that one size fits
all developmental path really served us well, right? It’s built the best Air Force
in the world for us over time. But what has happened is, and we’ve gotten into
this path where everybody has to go on the same command track, where you go through
being a flight commander, squadron commander, group
commander, wing commander, going forward. To be after the National Defense Strategy and what it requires, is we need more agile development. We need to let people
develop in different ways. Whether that’s in space, cyber, support, force modernization. And what we’re doing is, by unlocking. Unlocking the ability
to not be beholden to or not worry about how you’re going to compete against others
in a promotion board who maybe not like you. It gives us the idea that
we can develop differently and develop in the ways we need to. So that’s really important. So all those things are ongoing. And we look forward to your questions. I wanna point out what we have up here, is we have a way for you guys
to type your questions in, and bring them out, and you can vote. So we know we’re gonna have a limited amount of time here today. And you can vote for which questions you want to go to the top. And our moderator, she
will take the questions that are at the top, and keep asking us to answer those ones. And any ones that we don’t get to, we will come back and make sure we publish them out on the website, make sure we get all
your questions answered. And with that, I want to be
quiet and listen to you guys, just like we have been,
squint with our ears and hear what your questions are about our Talent Management reform. So over to you guys. – Thanks very much, Brian. This amazing system. So we got the most votes for the question that I’m about to read. But before I do that, I have to sit here as sort
of the elder in the room and make an observation. So for our officer leadership, I can say this based on about 50 years since I raised my right hand. We have the finest leadership, and every generation is better. But we have the finest
senior officer leadership our Air Force has ever had. And while we got CQ Brown,
General Brown off working the, strengthening the war fighter
and industry relationship, we got Misses Brown sitting here. So thanks for being here. And then Mac McMurray who’s deputy at the Air Force Material
Command at Right Path. And ensures we have the most capable lethal weapons systems in the world. And then Tony Cotton,
the Vice and strategic direct global strike command. And ensures the planet remains safe. And we have a credible deterrence, we have a chain of credible deterrence, for two legs at the triad. And then of course,
General Cobra Harrigian, who’s looking the Russians
in the eye every day. Terrific leadership. With that, let me read
the first question here. Oh, hold on Mike, we’ll get it. Second one, okay. When will we stop using time
on station to drive assignments and actually look at preferences
and mission qualifications and/or developmental needs. – So I’ll go first, and then
Jason if you wanna hop in if you have any comments in this so that. One developmental transformation
I’ve just mentioned, developmental categories, gives us the opportunity to do just that. Right now what happens is, I think all of us get into this mode and of, if you stay too long on a station you might be considered, right? A homesteader. And when you go to a promotion board, or you go to look at something. Somebody will say, “Well, they
stayed too long at that place and they’ve homesteaded.” As we’ve worked on this
developmental categories idea, we looked at how to break it down from our current single line
of the Air Force category, into six developmental categories. Air and Special Operations,
Space Operations, Nuclear and Missile Operations,
Information Warfare, Combat Support, and Force Modernization. Each of those areas now has the ability to adjust those discussions and decide, what’s the right time on station criteria? And how do I look at time
on station different? I’ll use the force modernization
category in particular which General McMurray
and his team out there. But there is great value in
us having more continuity and more time to work in a
program, an acquisition program. And have that continuity from year to year as we go through a program. This will allow us to do that without that having a negative impact
in terms of the promotion, because the force modernization
category will be meeting at promotion board and
looking at other officers who have the same set and
same values and discussions. So this gives us the opportunity
to do that and adjust those time on station
things to what’s appropriate and not just have us move through, just to move through and be competitive, so that’s where we’re going. – Thank you, Sir. So my preference is to actually have a system that’s flexible, where commanders and supervisors
can work with a member. And as long as we’re being intentional, they can choose what’s right. There may be something
going on with the member, and it makes a lot of sense. Either programmatically or for the member, for them to stay in place. I think our total force mission partners don’t necessarily have a problem with people staying in
a place for a while. And I think they’re pretty
darn good at what they do. So I think this is
something that we can crack. I think on the officer side, it might be more practical
in the short term, ’cause we’re implementing
the talent marketplace. I know there’re plans in the future for talent marketplace to be employed on the enlisted side of the Force. Some of these things are
just a matter of scale, and how do we do it at scale,
and accommodate everybody’s professional development
requirements and balance those, that with their needs. Just my thoughts. – [Orville] Okay, next question. Why do we put so much weight on DG, distinguished graduate
from school for promotions when that does not show leadership? – Yeah, so I think this
is a great question and you heard Jason tee this up before. And he and I have talked
about this subject. I guess I would argue our current system doesn’t do a great job
of being able to truly allow performance to be
the distinguishing factor between two airmen. Too often, whether it’s because
of the stratification system or other ways, there are lots of reports
that look very similar. And what happens when
reports look similar, if you are looking for an easy button, you start to find other
discriminators and other ways to tell the difference between
one officer and another. And so you revert to things like, this one was a distinguished graduate, this one wasn’t a distinguished graduate. This one went to this
particular award ceremony, this one didn’t go. And those not always the very best means to determine performance
and really figure out. What we’re putting in place
with those four factors in our discussion. Is not only using those four factors, but using those four factors to help us come up with a objective score. And the objective score
will be something like this. Each of the areas, leading
people, executing your mission, will have sort of a vignettes of behavior that describe your behavior against a set of competencies in there. The rater is gonna go through
and read those different areas and say, okay, are you
a novice in this area? Or are you an expert in this area? Let me just decide what your
behavior describes itself at. That’s going to lend
itself to having eventually some kind of score. We’re still in the formation stages, but right now we’re thinking
about a seven point scale. And you can say okay, when
I go through this process, for executing a mission I
get a 5.5 on my scorecard, and when I look at leading
people I get a 4.9. And then want we want to be able to do, rather than have a stratification is, use that and have that be measured, both from the rater’s profile, you know. What is this rater? Is this rater an easy grader? Is this rater a hard grader? Are they Santa Clause or are they Grinch? In terms of what they give out. Have some kind of normalization of that, like we’ve seen our sister
services do in similar fashions. And then give us a chance to
compare that person’s score across their peers. Whether it’s in that
developmental category, but at that grade. So all majors who happen to be this AFSC across this category. This is how you score
and how you fair it out. We think that’s a better way for us to be able to drive
and empower performance and make sure we’re doing that without getting into a discussion of who was a distinguished
graduate or who wasn’t. So that’s our method, and that’s where we’re going right now, and that’s what we’re testing out. – I’ve written on this. (laughs) Right? I’ve been a distinguished
grad, I’ve been a top grad. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care what you know, unless you actually
use it to do something. So if I were king for the day, DGs would be gone, they’d be mass, they wouldn’t be handed out anymore. They just wouldn’t. Because as long as they’re around, somebody’s gonna look to them. Looking forward to the day when we have an evaluation
system where we don’t have to. The problem is, if we do away with that, we’re gonna latch on to
something else that’s, you know, equally worthless or worse. But it should be gone tomorrow. On the broader subject,
valuing the school, and those kinds of things. I have four Master’s Degrees. Why? (laughs) (applause) Three of them are in the same subject, so no wonder I was the top
grad the last time around. It only took me three
tries to figure it out. What is it we’re trying to do here? I think there’s a question
where a blank whiteboard is really valuable in saying, what is it we’re actually
trying to accomplish? And if we were trying to build that today, and that’s a lot of
discussion that we’ve had, quite honestly. So don’t think that I’m
talking out of sync. These are conversations that we’ve had, real, good conversations. What is it we’re actually trying to do? And how unintentionally in
trying to do the right thing have we strayed from that target? Those, you know. So I got the first
Master’s Degree on my own. Those other three, those are three years that I wasn’t out there leading airmen. That was three years
where I could have been contributing the mission, that were lost. I mean they were, they were just lost. Yeah. Just my view. – Yeah, thanks. Let me just add one other part to this. You heard Jason say, you
know, why do I have these? And what am I doing? We really want to get to. So competencies and your degrees and stuff are about what you learned
and what skillset you have. But what we’re really interested
is, what you do with that. What is your performance? How have you actually translated that competency and that
skillset into producing things? How have you translated into
how you execute your mission? How you lead people, how
you manage your resources, and how you improve your units. Those who can exploit those things and use their competencies in a way that’s going to be resonating. Those are who we want to make sure we push forward in the system,
and who we want to make sure we’re building towards the
leaders we need in the future. – Okay, next question. How do we reward late bloomers, and at the same time slow down high potential officers who
don’t perform as they get older? – You can start, I’ll come.
– Thank you, Sir. I was hoping this would get asked. So not all this is original thought okay, so please nobody
criticize me saying, well, that’s not new or think that
I’m some genius that I’m not. year groups need to go away. They just, they need to go away. You’re either ready to be
considered for promotion or you’re not. In the zone, above the
zone, below the zone. It’s all driving unhealthy behaviors with the best of intentions. All this was created for
the best of intentions with a great purpose. Just like most of the laws that the congress have passed. Right? And that’s also why
on the hairdryer it says, “Don’t use this in the shower.” Because some idiot did. So do away with the year groups. But also we get, we get towards those. We get towards those
measures that we were, we were talking about before. But the. Sorry, completely drawing a blank. The way that we really
wipe the slate clean is by masking previous evaluations from promotion board consideration. At least when you reach
the new rank, right? ‘Cause what you do, once you’re promoted
to Lieutenant Colonel, why do I care what you did as a Major? Unless you’re actually applying that to what you’re doing today. So we shouldn’t be reaching to the past, we should be looking at
where people are now, and having a system that
allows us to evaluate where people are today. I don’t know how many times
I’ve had a really sharp Master Sargent that was
ready for the next stipe, but the council I got was, you’re wasting your stratification, you’re wasting the push
on this individual, because two years ago they screwed up and failed their fitness assessment. Doesn’t matter if that
person is the most fit person in my unit today. And the most ready to
lead, and does the best taking care of their
airmen, I’m wasting that. Why? They learned from that mistake, look at where they are today and what they’re providing for our airmen, and what they can do tomorrow? So why are we putting someone
in a multi-year penalty box for. (applause) For something non-criminal. So I think when, you know, when people. People start ringing their hands, though, when you start talking
about masking at least for promotion purposes,
previous evaluations. But I think that’s the only
wat to get there, really. Where are you today is what I care about. – Thanks Jason. A couple things to add in that discussion. So I know our enlisted force
here already knows this, but this is already what
we’ve sort of transitioned to on the enlisted side. So we only look back a
certain number of years to make sure where we go. We don’t go back through
the entire record. I think we’ll eventually
get to a similar discussion on the officer side. But one of the things
I wanted to point out in this discussion of year
groups and time phasing is, the opportunity that we have that the congress allowed us to get. So in recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion
about Talent Management. And the United States Congress, in particularly The Sennett, has helped us by passing some things last year. One we call the Defense Officer Personnel
Management Act, DOPMA. New reforms that gave us
opportunities, and tools, and flexibilities that
we’re just now exploring. I’m gonna point out my friend over here, Vice Admiral John
Nowell, from the Navy N1. He and I, and our counterparts
in the army and ring, are all sort of working towards, how do we exploit these
new things that we have? One of the options that it gives you in these new authorities from DOPMA, is to set up sort of a way
for your promotion system to rather than have a
promotion year group, work through the process and say, this is your in the zone promotion and this is your above the
zone promotion upper out, is give you a sort of five year space to look at those
promotions over that time. And some folks might be
developing on a faster pace, it might be more competitive in the beginning part of that zone. Some people might be developing on an average pace with their peers, and be ready in the
middle part of that zone. And some people might be late bloomers, that’s part of the question was there. And develop towards the end of that zone. And people would be considered
through that entire process so that we’re picking those folks who are developing at the right pace
and developing the right way and looking at that whole thing. So that gets rid of, for us, potential of having to look at year groups, and having to look at below
the zone, in the zone, and above the zone. And a way that we can
really manage in a new way. So that’s exciting for us. The pace at which we change
those things, though. I just caution from my seat,
we have to be careful, right? We have to be careful
as we make a transition that we don’t break a lot of glass when we’re making those transitions. So as we’re doing this and
putting these programs in place, we’re trying to be pretty careful about how we transition,
when we transition. And making sure where
we’re not leaving anybody behind in that process. – Okay, next question. Is the Air Force considering
psychological profiling for commander candidates or senior leaders to get after the toxic leadership problem. – I’ll go on this one. So we’re doing a lot of things. And you heard General Goldfein
during the Town Hall session really commit to our discussion about how do we identify and make sure we’re
working on toxic leaders. Let me tell you what we’re doing. I don’t think we’re doing
psychological profiles as a part of that discussion. But let me tell you what we are doing. So General Cotton is sitting over here. And down at Air University, they have a leadership development course that we put in place in the last year. Now these guys did a
great job standing it up. It is a leadership development course that is for folks who
we think are going to at some point in time, be competitive for, and become squadron commanders. And it is a gap that we
saw on our development. And it is mostly focused
on the soft skills that those folks are gonna need. The interpersonal skills
they’re gonna need to lead effectively. Knowing themselves, their
emotion quotient if you will. Making sure that that’s maximized. Giving them the skillsets they need to effectively lead and
be inspirational leaders, as you heard the chief said, as apposed to toxic leaders. So we put that in place. The new OPR system that we talked about. When we talk about that
leading people category, this is what we’re thinking
and where we’re going on this discussion. Before I evaluate the person who I’m gonna put my, you know, discussion on how they’re leading people. Before I do that, part
of our thought process and our creation is, that that person needs to
get sort of 360 feedback from them before they
evaluate that person. Not in the, not necessary
in a formal tool. It could be an informal way. But if I’m gonna be. If I’m a group commander and I’m gonna evaluate
a squadron commander. Before I evaluate how
they’re leading people, I need to talk to their
fellow squadron commanders, I need to talk to some
of their subordinates. I need to make sure I
have some information that gives me a comfortable
sense that what I see in terms of how that person presents themselves to me as the leader, is accurate in terms of
how their leading people. That’s part of the process and what we want to get after in here. So those are things that we’re doing to try and make sure we go. But I’m gonna touch on one thing more before I turn over to Jason. You heard Jason mention, we can’t be afraid of
documenting something. We have a culture in our Air Force, that I think all you guys would admit, especially on the officer side. Way more so on the officer side. That we don’t wanna document things for fear that it’s
going to derail somebody and be a career-ender. And certainly if you’re
the only one doing that, you should sort of feel like. If I’m gonna hold my airmen
accountable for something, and nobody else is doing
that, I’m gonna impact them. We’ve gotta get ourselves to a place where we’re comfortable in
making sure the feedback happens and that we can capture those things. And then have a framework. And we think we’ve done this pretty well and the instruction we give to the board. To let the board look at
those things and decide. Is this indicative of a character flaw? Or is this a mistake? How long has happened since that person failed their PT test? Where do you go in that discussion? How do you make sure that all
the factors, time, recovery, what you’ve done since
then, are all considered? So that we can all comfortably make sure that we are capturing those things. And for those people who have,
truly have, character flaws, and we’ve given them the feedback, and they haven’t fixed it. They’re probably not
gonna progress as leaders in our United States Air Force. For those people who have, there should be a path for them
to continue and go forward, and that’s what we’re working on. – Sir, yeah. I know I threw out that
psychological testing in one of my articles, so. And I don’t necessarily think that it’s, that’s a horrible idea. And it’s from what I understanding, The Army Human Capital Innovation
folks have been looking at you know, at the idea a little bit. I think we can get to the
solution what we are looking for if we have other mechanisms in place. The 360 feedback information
going to the rater, the additional rater, and actually having that data available. The climate assessments, right? Not necessarily directly
on the performance report, but feeding back to the rater
and the additional rater. And that there’s that data to help. To help the rater and additional rater make their evaluations at the individual provided in a proper context. But also, if they get it wrong over time, we can go back and look at what happened. And actually hold that rater accountable for getting it wrong. And if that happens wrong too often, then maybe we don’t need them necessarily in a senior rater capacity,
if that makes sense. So I think the most
important element there, is that the voice of those being led has been captured and heard. However we can do that. Because we all know, we all,
we all experienced that. We have leaders that we would
follow to hell and back, no questions asked. And then we have those that
we intentionally avoid, and will leave the Air Force before we ever work for them again. How does that get captured? Because right now, it’s not. And so I’m optimistic
about the new system, and those mechanisms, because those are the things
that we’re trying to get after. – Okay, are we going to
change the OPR system? New forum, new computer program. – So hopefully the answer is yes. The discussion I had and
I described to you guys would lead to a new OPR forum. And hopefully an IT solution
that would lend itself to being a lot easier for us. When I talk about
simplicity and transparency is one of the tenants
that we have to get to at a Talent Management system. Certainly one of the things
that we have in mind is, how do we capture all the
things we need to capture? But make it easier for our Force. We’re thinking about the sort of prototypes we’ve seen so far, sort of like a TurboTax forum where you pull down the pull down menu about leading people
and executing missions. And you’re able to see those things and check where you need to. A lot less typing bullets and putting bullets in those discussions. A lot less discussion. No stratification, because
the system’s gonna give you where you’re going with that. But our vision is definitely
a new forum, online forum. That would, you print it
only when you need to, but all done online. That sort of captures
that and for it to be back boned and sort of
underpinned by a new IT product that would do it. So not in the realm of a VPC and the things that we currently have, which certainly I struggle
with and get mad at on a weekly basis when I’m
trying to navigate my way through OPRs and those kind of things. But a more modern system. And the way I think about it, and when I’ve seen what we’ve
looked at, and prototypes. It’s more like a TurboTax kind of format. You can work your way
through the instructions and then having an end
product for yourself. – The only thing that I would add there, is that there is nothing
about our current system and the forums that we have
that prevents us from doing all the things that
we’ve been talking about. It’s our climate and our culture, and how we’ve chosen to do these things. Those of you who didn’t hear
Chief Wright’s talk earlier about the difference between
the conversation in CORONA, before I get in trouble here. Or the conversation amongst the chiefs. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be in the
conversation with the chiefs. I think speaking to the
matter of climate and culture, we have a climate and culture, especially amongst the officer core, that values curtesy over candor. And there’s no reason why
we can’t be, you know. Professional and have our disagreements. But when we get the, when we
place form above function, that’s never gonna end well. And it’s not gonna result in
more ready and lethal force. So I’m in favor of anything
that leads us down that road. But just know that no matter
what new system comes out, how great it is, whatever. We still have the
potential to screw it up. So that’s why I’ve written
a lot of what I’ve written, is that I’m hoping we will choose and we will put the mechanisms in place to make it easier for people
to do the right thing. And we reward the right things. But make no mistake. The first thing people will do when whatever new system comes out, is they’ll try and figure
out a way to game it. And it’s just human nature, so. That’s the role of leaders. To hold the line, do what’s right, even when you’re incentivized differently. – Great. Stratifications come up in
a number of these questions. Does stratification need an overall, the current systems
seem vulnerable to bias, and likely to create hay ball effects. What can we do to help? – Yeah, so. I hope from our discussions already, and I know. I think I speak
for Jason on this one, right? The answer is yes. The stratification
system needs an overall. We started down on that path a little bit with the potential focus
PRF and the guidance that was put out there, but I think to illustrate
some of those points. If you sit on a promotion board or you sit on any kind of place where you’re valuing records, you’ll find out that our
airmen are innovative. And our airmen are creative, right? So they can find lots of
ways to give stratification that probably mean absolutely nothing. To my number one left handed
flight chief on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. But this person is my number
one left handed flight chief on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’ve seen all that stuff. We know that that exists in the
system out there, all right. So the way we’re describing
the new OPR system and the guidance that we put in place for the new potential focus PRFs starts to take us to a place where we can normalize that behavior. And we can get to a place where we truly can
differentiate among folks. And again, with a way for
us to normalize between a very hard grader and a very easy grader, so that an individual airman
doesn’t get advantaged or disadvantaged in that discussion. So the answer is absolutely yes. And we’re down that path to try
and get ourselves to a place where we can truly
communicate and differentiate between performance of our airmen. We have lots of great performing airmen, but not everybody is the
number one of 1000 people in the organization. And we need to know the
difference between those folks, so that we’re making sure
we’ve picked the right people for the right jobs. – That’s tough to top. The new system, if we do it
right, stratifications go away. I’ll know that we’re on the right path when those things go away. And I hear a lot of my
peers lament about it, because it’s the one thing we have. And I’ll tell you, sitting on a bunch of development teams and sitting in the, along with General Cotton and the whole competitive category,
developmental category discussion. When we’re reviewing a
ridiculous number of records. You’re going through those
things, and remember, this wasn’t a statutory board. And statutory boards are different. About having to go through
every line of every report in detail. The eyes gravitate to the strats. And it only takes one, okay? It only takes one bad fit with a rater who didn’t like you or
didn’t, have a different style to completely change
the path and trajectory of someone’s career. Just one. And it’s a subjective assessment
really driven by one person if you think about it. So if it’s squadron commander
providing a stratification, the group commander, chances are, not gonna give a number one to somebody who the squadron commander
gave a number two to. And that’s assuming that group commander has ever met that person who
got a stratification, right? Or on of. The other thing that I’ve seen, right? And it gets kind of ridiculous sometimes. Is you’ll see a great young
captain, number three of 10 in their shop, doing their job. Three of 10 isn’t bad. Shoot, when you’re young
and learning your job especially when you first show up, three of 10 is fine. Then they go to be a general officer exec, and suddenly they’re getting
ridiculous stratifications like number one of 300, 400. I even saw one general
officer gave a stratification, number one of 1500. To which I want to say, really sir? You met all 1500? How is? All of us are looking at
that shaking our heads, wondering what are we
supposed to do with this. Then that person gets
on a super fast path. School, school, school. With the assumption, and
I’ve heard this before, well, the person went to school, so we know they’re
gonna be a great leader. And so it builds momentum, so. I think we need to get
rid of stratifications, I don’t think we can do it right now, because we don’t have anything
else to substitute in there. I’m looking forward to some more rules until we get that new system online. And so I really look forward to that day. – Okay, unfortunately this
will be the last question. I’m sure General Kelly and
Colonel Lamb will stick around. Thanks very much to Mike, for helping me with my limited IT skills. So last question, why do Air Force pilots hold more strategic leadership positions than other AFSCs, despite
all signs pointing to next generation conflict being in the space and cyber domains. – And they’re asking to non flyers? Okay, fantastic. (laughs) You know. (laughs) Last time I checked, it’s the Air Force. But I don’t necessarily
have a problem with that. In my own career field, right, intel. Intel is one of those career fields that has had folks with the
universal management badge in charge of it before. And I’ll tell you, some of those folks were
better leaders for ISR than some of the people who
were traditional intel airmen. I’ll probably get stabbed after this, but. In my opinion it’s true. Leadership is leadership. I’m not concerned over it. What concerns me is that
it’s kind of the assumption that it’s always going to be a pilot. I would prefer if it was
a little more open ended about what is it we’re trying to do here and who’s the right leader. I think we’re totally capable of that. And I think we’re on a path towards that. But at level I’m really not judging. You know, I think. I think it’s kind of silly
when we still talk about the number of flying hours
a general officer has. That’s not really what
we’re looking for anymore, my own personal opinion. But sir, I’m out of time. Over to you. – Thanks, Jason. So I think what we’re looking for, right? If you asked me, do I wanna pick somebody
who’s a better leader or a better technician,
I want the better leader. But the transformation
that we’re trying to make in the Talent Management system is we look to the NDS and we look to what we need in the future. We need both, right? We’re gonna need places
where we develop both. We don’t need to have those
be mutually exclusive. You can develop great
leaders and great technicians at the same time. Certainly when you get to
the general officer level, the breath and depth that
the chief talked about during his panel, becomes
even more important, right? And we have to make sure the
people we’re putting there are developed in the
right ways, experienced, and exposed to the right things. And today’s warfare, and
where we’re at for join, that has tended to be, and rightly so, has tended to be our rated
folks who are in those positions because of the operational focus and the exposure and development
we’ve been able to do. That may not always be
the case as we go forward. But what we wanna be able to do is, we wanna be able to built both. We don’t want just great
leaders or great technicians, we want people who have both
skillsets that can go forward. This is a wrap up. I just want to. I wanna thank you guys for coming out. Again, we’ll stick around for a little bit and answer questions. And certainly any questions that came in, we’ll put back out in the side. I just want to emphasize for everybody that this is a really important
time for us as a Force. You heard the chief talk about that. As we look forward to the
National Defense Strategy, we’ve gotta get this Talent
Management piece right. Because if we don’t
have the airmen we need, and they’re not developed the right way, it doesn’t matter what
we do in Force structure, it doesn’t matter what we
do in our Force design, all those things that we talk about. We gotta get this piece right. And so, this is why we’ve
been very collaborative, and this is why we’ve been very open to making sure we hear all the good ideas as we go forward. We’re gonna make some changes. And one thing I would just
foot stamp you guys is if you ask me, “Hey BK,
what are you 100% sure of?” I would say, “I’m 100% sure
we don’t have it 100% right.” Okay. There’s no way for us
to have it 100% right. So but, we’re airmen, right? We know how to be agile, we
know how to be innovative. As we go forward, we can’t wait around
to get it 100% perfect. So we’re gonna have to move forward, we’re gonna have to learn lessons, and make adjustments as we go, and evolve into making sure that we have the Talent
Management system we need, and I look forward to doing
that with all of you guys. Thanks. (applause) I get the last word
right before you leave. First and foremost, on behalf of your Air Force
Association leadership, Chairman Peters, thank you for being here. And it’s an honor, I can’t
even hardly put into words, to look at all of you. I do know this. I do know this for sure. I’m looking at the most lethal
combat force in the world. Every one of you. You are, and you lead that Force. And you are also the
most credible deterrent capability for peace in this world. God bless you. May God continue to bless America, and it’s an honor to be on your wing. Have a great week. (applause) (uplifting orchestral music)

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