Talent wins games, but teams win championships

  • Published
  • By Col. Trent Edwards
  • 42nd Air Base Wing commander
Have you ever thought about what makes great teams great? From the team owners, to the coaches, to the players themselves, dynasties expect to win. Great teams are willing to achieve greatness. Ask 10 sports enthusiasts what basketball team has been the greatest franchise in 50 years, the answers would have something in common---a great team that expected greatness.

Team Maxwell is a great team and our greatness starts with individuals. Personal greatness starts from within. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, two icons in professional basketball, committed to training and practice routines that consistently challenged their individual skill sets. Airmen, likewise cannot be complacent with their current skill sets; we train to a very high level of expertise and then test our skills through base exercises and inspections. We ensure we can apply our knowledge and training in real-world scenarios. Our ultimate job is to defend the nation. We accomplish that objective as a team, but it begins with individuals accepting responsibility for their own competency and taking appropriate action to push themselves to greatness.

Great teams know that greatness is about the team, not the individual. We can all think of great athletes whose team just can't win a championship. Although we may individually do very well in our respective career fields or fare well during an inspection, mission readiness across the installation is team success and the true spirit of Team Maxwell's greatness and that of Air Education and Training Command and the greatest Air Force in the world. An "Outstanding" or "Excellent" during an inspection helps ensure our country remains safe, protected and free.

Great teams have great players who take the time to make their teammates better. No matter how far we get in our lives, someone else helps get us there. Great players unselfishly take the time to enhance the skills of their teammates to reach their own greatness. We also must "grow the bench," mentoring and developing our Airmen into the next generation of Air Force leaders. With this commitment from each of us, we can invest in our future. In doing so, we make Team Maxwell, AETC and the United States Air Force great organizations.

Great teams not only think they are great, they can back it up. Each weekend they get the opportunity to test that assertion on the gridiron. In September, Team Maxwell will have the opportunity to back up our assertion that we are a great organization, the "Best Hometown in the Air Force," when we are tested through a consolidated unit inspection, or CUI. We have trained and practiced hard the last 13 months. We have focused on mission readiness and have successfully deployed 300 Airmen around the world, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn, the combined joint task force mission in the Horn of Africa, humanitarian missions in Peru and Costa Rica and other operations. We have implemented programs; developed and refined processes that took care of SOS, ACSC and AWC students; and took care of Airmen and families--all of which have supported our mission: to operate a world-class installation. In September we have the opportunity to reap the benefits of our hard work when we show the inspectors exactly what makes us the Best Hometown in the Air Force.

Great teams do not miss their opportunity to be great. They know how to execute the game plan when it really matters. Great teams are disciplined and focused. Simply put, they seize the opportunity. I am confident that Team Maxwell has what it takes to seize the opportunity in September.