As goes the skipper... a first sergeant's perspective Published Sept. 13, 2009 By MSgt Robert B. Lumby 301 FW Civil Engineer First Sergeant NAS JRB FT WORTH, TEXAS -- "In the darkest night, and during the fiercest storm, with fear and panic on every face... ... As goes the Skipper, so goes the ship..." When success prevails and trouble cannot be seen in distant clouds, With peace and calm in every space As goes the skipper, so goes the ship. I've heard Major Alan Rock say that axiom many times...and it's so true to our military experience. It's true in the worst of times, when our airmen are looking to leaders for direction, courage, and decisiveness. And it's true in the best of times, when airmen are tempted to rest on the laurels of their successes and look to their leaders for consistency, vision, initiative and innovation. We watch our leaders and how they deal with adversity and success, and then base our mood on that of the "skipper's". That's human nature and also a very common dynamic within most organizations. As goes the skipper, so goes the ship. What an impact. What a responsibility. Do you get the picture now that the skipper is always at work? During a crisis, or when dealing with adversity, the skipper is at work directing, encouraging, motivating, leading. The skipper helps the crew stay on task despite any negative expectation. During this time, the skipper not only steers the ship through troubled waters, but also pulls the crew through the dark night and into the bright rays of success. The crew counts on the skipper, for as goes the skipper, so goes the ship. When the skies are clear and successes come easily, it's the skipper who pushes the crew to innovate, improve processes and systems, and make preparations for difficult times. The skipper steers the crew past the tempting islands of complacency and apathy and into the deeper waters of continuous improvement and innovation. There is no resting on laurels for the skipper, so goes the ship. If you're the skipper in your work center, prepare and execute with purpose and clarity. As we deal with the challenges and success, live out the axiom. As goes the skipper, so goes the ship.