Keys to a successful Compliance Inspection -- solid programs, positive attitude

  • Published
  • By Col. Russ Mack
  • 71st Flying Training Wing commander
Team Vance, it's crunch time, it's personal, it's the Compliance Inspection, and it's just you and the Inspector General.

So what's the outcome going to be; Satisfactory, Excellent or Outstanding?

What is it going to take to successfully get through the CI? Simply put, solid programs and a positive attitude!

Now, I am a realist. I know that is easier said than done, so let me explain. Over the course of the past year, Team Vance has been working hard and putting in countless hours making sure their office, flight, squadron and group is ready and prepared for the CI.

Let me just state up front -- thank you! Thank you for your dedication, discipline and perseverance. Your preparation has certainly not gone unnoticed by me, the senior leadership and your immediate supervisor. I also know, without a doubt, you are ready; ready to showcase your outstanding programs and unveil a benchmark operation.

So what's it going to take to impress the IG?

The first key to success is a solid program. A program that complies with the applicable regulations, directives, Air Force Instructions, and more importantly, a program that is "long term and sustainable." A program you can hand to your successor and be confident they will pick up where you left off and carry it forward in full compliance with AFIs, and without a lapse in continuity.

You're there. You have that solid program in place. Now you have to sell it! This brings us to the second key to success; your attitude, specifically a positive attitude.

In my 23 years of military service I have participated in six CIs in three different major commands and from three different levels of command. I have seen successes and failures. I can say without a doubt, the one key ingredient in both was attitude.

Good or bad, your attitude will set the tone for your inspection and your inspector will certainly take note of it. Remember, you can sell a marginal program with a positive attitude just as easily as you can marginalize an outstanding program with a poor attitude.

When I was a chief of Safety, it was six months prior to the wing CI and I inherited an office that had failed the previous inspection 18 months earlier. After reviewing our program and meeting with my staff, it became readily apparent to everyone that we had our work cut out for us. One program in particular, the Motorcycle Safety Program, was highlighted as a command wide "high interest" item, and ours was, to say the least, marginal at best.

In six short months we rebuilt the program and increased motorcycle safety awareness through an aggressive safety campaign that included the wing commander through the youngest Airman. Was our program compliant over the entire two years between CIs? No, but we sold the program as a model for the command and the IG bought it. They bought it because we developed a program that was "long term and sustainable" and we sold it with a positive attitude.

I tell you that story because it was our attitude that saved the day. Did we highlight the positive aspects of our program? Absolutely! Did we highlight our challenges and shortfalls? Absolutely!

The IG knows that we have challenges with respect to time, money and resources. I agree you need to acknowledge those challenges. But more importantly, you need to highlight the strengths of your program despite those challenges.

Remember: Your overall key to success will be having a long-term, sustainable program that you sell with a positive attitude.

Team Vance, I know you are ready, and despite all our challenges we are executing our mission to "Develop, Deliver, and Fly, Fight and Win!"

It's crunch time, it's personal, it's the CI and you're ready. Now it's time to let the IG know you're ready.