Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. Brian Sale
50th Network Operations Group superintendent
Have you ever looked at a coworker, boss, commander or friend, and asked yourself, “What is the secret to their success? How did they learn everything they know? What do I need to do to be successful?”
Although initiative and luck often play a part, in almost every successful person’s career someone took the time to pass on their valuable knowledge. Those individuals most certainly benefited when someone took the time to share their experiences and expertise. Maybe you can recall a person who impacted you; someone who helped you grow in a personal or professional way. But as you ponder this thought, ask yourself, “What am I doing to continue the cycle?” Sharing your knowledge is an incredible opportunity to make a significant difference.
Knowledge is power and every one of us can use it to make a difference; we just need to be willing to share what we know. No matter our rank, level or position, when we pass on what we’ve learned, incredible change can occur. I didn’t always understand the impact this could have or how far reaching it could be, but thanks to one amazing supervisor, it is now cemented in my mind.
As a young senior airman struggling to figure out what I needed to do, learn and even where to begin making a plan for my future, I was given the opportunity to serve with an incredible enlisted leader. Tech. Sgt. Robert Borden knew the value of knowledge sharing and the importance of developing this habit in his Airmen. He would frequently make the time to discuss with me and other young Airmen the promotion and assignment systems, how to write top-notch performance reports and award packages and what to expect as growing leaders. More than just the training he provided, Borden’s willingness to tie our development to his own experiences truly made a difference.
By imparting his own personal and professional highs and lows, his struggles and triumphs, Borden reinforced that we all are continuously learning and growing and can help each other by sharing our experiences. Regarding both technical expertise and leadership training, Borden’s mantra was, “Learn it, master it and most importantly share what you’ve learned with others.” He knew hoarding information might benefit an individual, but sharing of ourselves will strengthen each individual and every process we touch.
So, while knowledge is power, shared knowledge is the strongest of all. By sharing our experiences, we set in motion a ripple effect where we can help one person, who helps two people, who help four people and so on. The result can improve each other, our Air Force and our community.
I have had an amazing career and am humbled by the value of this very simple lesson which continues to serve me every day. I have benefited from those who have helped me along the way, and borne witness to how passing it along can help others. From process improvement to career counseling, we each have the ability to make a difference.
Whether it is in small personal conversation between friends and coworkers, a military function or a community forum, you can make a difference. Sharing your knowledge can be a catalyst for change and one supervisor, who was wise enough to know this lesson, continues to impact countless others. The key to success lies in each and every one of us. If we share what we’ve learned and encourage others to do the same, together we can make a difference.