Do the right thing when EVERYONE’s looking

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas -- I spoke recently to a group of Airmen about our core values.  There was a phrase that came from the conversation...it has to do with integrity...and courage...and I wanted to share it with you.

"Do the right thing when no one is looking"

When we are taught about integrity, many of us are taught this simple phrase to define "integrity."  While it is accurate, I don't think it goes far enough. It pretty much just says "don't be a criminal"' or at best "be a good citizen." 

When you think about it, it is actually a pretty low bar...is not littering or not taking money from the snack bar the kind of standard we want to set for a core value? 

It seems to me these are normal expectations for any citizen in any civilized community.  Should we not expect more from ourselves as Airmen?

If someone does the right thing in the middle of the woods, does it make a sound?

The doctrinal definition of our Air Force core value of Integrity First includes "courage," but it takes no courage to do the right thing when no one is looking. 

It takes courage to do the right thing when EVERYONE is looking. It takes courage to fight against a culture of misbehavior.  It takes courage to chase excellence when the masses or the "cool kids" are strolling along with mediocrity.  And it takes courage to stand up for what's right, when you may be the lone voice.

When you hold yourself, and others, accountable for excellence that is not "mandated" you're a shining example of Integrity First. Integrity means having the courage to buck the trend and do what you know is right when EVERYONE's looking.

Dare to stand out, dare to make a difference, dare to build the culture you deserve instead of the culture you're given.  It is YOUR Air Force and it takes integrity...and courage...to make it better.