12 August 2010

The part they left out in the admissions brochure

According to Princeton Review, the US Air Force Academy ranks:

#1 Most Accessible Professors
#8 "Is it food?"
#13 Least happy students

Although I've heard Academy leadership tout the first ranking on many occasions, I've never heard them mention the other two. Strange.

Cynicism is a big problem here - and stuff like this will cause it. I'm a pretty happy camper here at Camp USAFA, as we affectionately call it sometimes, but there are a lot of unhappy cadets.

I think it has to due mostly with a lack of communication from leadership: why are we doing weekly reveille formations? Why was our group commander not there? Why can't we get the music and the commands coordinated, so everyone can actually salute when the flag goes up?

My dad sent me an article last year about how important it is for leadership to communicate policies and the reasons for those policies. If workers understand the reasons, they'll be more happy about the policy. If they feel they have a say in deciding policy, they'll be even happier.

But here, we don't know the reasons and we don't have a say.

Don't get me wrong - the Academy is a great place. Like I said, I'm a happy camper: usually because I can walk into the mountains and camp. But there's always room for improvement.


  1. Would you happen to still have that article your dad sent you?

  2. It's probably buried in my gmail. I'll dig for it.

    About 10 years ago I was having my annual holiday party, and my niece had come with her newly minted MBA boyfriend. As he looked around the room he noted that my employees seemed happy.
    I told him that I thought they were.
    Then, figuring I would take his new degree for a test drive, I asked him how he thought I did that. “I'm sure you treat them well,” he replied.
    “That's half of it,” I said. “Do you know what the other half is?”
    He didn't have the answer, and neither have the many other people that I have told this story.
    So what is the answer?
    I fired the unhappy people.
    People usually laugh at this point. I wish I were kidding.
    I'm not.

    full link:

  4. That's not the one I was thinking about... it was about two different factories, that had to lay off people, but one leader explained the situation and his employees worked harder and when they did get laid off, they're weren't mad about it. Or something like that.