Do right, do good, don’t worry

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Michael Maksimowicz
  • 3rd Flying Training Squadron commander

Leadership is a journey, and we should all strive to continually improve our leadership abilities.

Through the years I have tried to advance and sharpen my leadership skills by collecting all kinds of tools for my tool kit. I have relied on many of them, but I have found one simple leadership philosophy for accomplishing the mission – D3.

D3 equals Do right, Do good and Don’t worry.

This philosophy fits in nicely with the Air Force’s Core Values -- Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do.

Do right. In all situations, do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. The word “integrity” stems from the Latin word “integer,” which reflects being whole or complete. In this sense, integrity involves consistent actions of truth, honor and character in all occasions.

The English writer, C.S. Lewis, defined integrity as “doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” This includes when the choice in not easy or results in a serious consequence. This core value is paramount and without it we fail.

Do good. This contains the essence of both Service before self and Excellence in all we do. From my earliest involvement in sports I was taught there is no “I” in team. For a unit to be successful, individuals must be willing to sacrifice personal interests or recognition for the welfare of all.

The team comes first. To quote a favorite of mine growing up, football coach Bo Schembechler said, it is “the team, the team, the team.” We succeed, or fail, as a team. We must ensure that we are all working towards the same end goal.

The greatest asset in any organization is people. Every job is equally important. From operators and maintainers, to mission supporters and medical practitioners, every Airman counts.

We must look after our people. We must take care of each other and be good Wingmen. That means taking action at the earliest signs of trouble, especially in situations where Airmen are about to make a poor decision, are in despair or seem about to hurt themselves or others.

But doing good doesn’t stop there. Doing good includes being prepared and knowing your stuff. It means staying in the books, maintaining proficiency and setting a positive example for others to follow.

And sometimes clichés provide excellent guidance. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Practice makes perfect. It is the little things that make the big things happen. Life is not a game without errors, but we must work to keep them to a minimum.

Legendary University of California, Los Angeles basketball coach John Wooden said, “It is what we learn after we know it all that really counts.” We must learn from our mistakes and apply those lessons learned.

The last of the three Ds is Don’t worry. This one is easy. If we are doing all of the things we should be doing and none of the things we should not, the rest will take care of itself.

We don’t have to worry when we are doing our absolute best. There is nothing more we can do. We will achieve the most important kind of success -- becoming the best we can be.

D3 is simple. Do right, do good and don’t worry. At the very least it will keep you out of trouble.