Trust, Respect, Loyalty

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trust, respect and loyaltyI had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the food and beverage team who makes sure the 4000 cadets who attend the Air Force Academy are fed 3 times per day. What these people do is nothing short of amazing! The systems and processes they have in place allow them to prepare 3 squares a day and then provide the service that feeds these 4000 cadets in just about 30 minutes!
I had the gift of speaking to them about VIP customer service recently. Our focus was on “why” it is important and “who” should be delivering that VIP service to these VIP service men and women who will one day serve us all in the United States Air Force.

We broke into groups and worked on the ideal characteristics of the VIP server. We looked at what kind of “culture” it takes to really provide VIP service day after day. I’d like to tell you that I had all of the answers and delivered something brilliant to this great team.

In reality, the story you see below is a direct result of the wonderful work this food and beverage team did during the workshop training that I was lucky enough to facilitate. When a table in the back of the room stood up to share their answers regarding what they believed it would take to build a strong culture of VIP service, I stopped what I was doing so that I could capture their words of wisdom regarding the 3 values that it would take to capture what we were talking about:

Trust is earned, Respect must be given, and Loyalty is to be demonstrated.

AND if it wasn’t enough to receive this great message in the middle of training, a couple of days later I received a beautiful story written by author, Dwight Johnson, PHD, who is second in command at Mitchell Hall. It is always such an honor to speak to this great group and to receive such learning made it that much more of an incredible experience.

Our culture at TrainerTainment is built around the fact that we should always be learning. We think that it is arrogant to believe we are great teaching company without having a tremendous focus on learning.  I’m always anticipating what I can learn every time I’m in a training situation. I got WAY more than I expected with the folks at Mitchell Hall! And as a side note, I learned the bicycle shuffle too! We also believe in FUN Training!

I hope you enjoy the story below and will take the time to comment on our blog. I think you’ll agree that Mr. Johnson tells the story beautifully!

Happy New Year,


Trust, Respect, and Loyalty

By Dwight Johnson, PhD

The Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Anderson calls the First Sergeant into his office and then says “Shirt” (this is what the First Sergeant is often called and is a term of endearment) “What do you think of Senior Airman Kari Burns?”

“Boss I think that she has some great potential but she needs some guidance.  Why do you ask about Senior Airman Burns?”

“Well, I agree with you but, I have been hearing some things about Kari that I think we need to correct.  Such as some of her squadron peers are having problems with trusting her at this time.  I was wondering if you might have a conversation with her about what leadership is all about.  Do you think that you can help her out?”

“You bet I can we will talk about what it means to be a leader.  You know that she was put into a position that, well, shall we say is very difficult and she is doing well but I think that I know what you want me to say to her.”

“Shirt you are always on top of things.  Do your magic.  Also, thanks for being here and helping all the young people in our squadron.”  With that Master Sergeant Rod Haines got up and left the Commanders office and made a call to have Senior Airman Burns come and see him.
Senior Airman Burns knocks on the First Shirt’s door and Master Sergeant Haines called out “Come on in.”

“Hi Shirt you wanted to see me?”

“Yes Kari came on in and you are not in trouble.  I just wanted to talk to you about how your new position is going.  So tell me what you think about your new position.”

“Well, I think that I am doing ok but I also think that the other airman around me don’t like me very much.”

The First Shirt looks at Kari and wonders out loud “Why do you think that way?”

“Well, I don’t think that they trust me to do the job that I am required to do.” Kari stated.

“Oh, well you know Kari you need to earn their trust.  Here are some Ideas that might help you to do just that. 1. Be predictable, 2. Match your words to the message, 3. Believe the other person is competent, 4. Be an example to the others, 5. And Listen.  Always remember to earn their trust.  Does that make sense to you?”

“Yes it does Shirt, but I don’t seem to get any respect either.  What should I do?”

“Kari, you do not receive respect but rather you need to give it away.  When was the last time you told your folks that they did a good job today?  Say positive things about your section.  Show you have moral ethics and recognize that your people have a good work ethic.  Let them know that they are doing a good job.  Give away respect that will go a long way for them to trust you as well.”

“I never thought about that I should give away respect.  That is a different concept.”

“Kari, have you demonstrated loyalty to your people?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, there are seven steps to have loyalty by both you and your people.  1. Be Supportive, 2. Don’t talk behind their backs, 3. Be honest with your opinion, 4. Don’t test your people’s loyalty because it will back fire.  Number 5 is to look for the needs of your people,   6. Balance your loyalties with one another, 7. Practice random acts of loyalty.”

“I never really thought about all these things and why aren’t be being taught this in school?” Kari Burns asked.

“That is a great question Kari and one that I cannot answer but I can tell you this that the Lt. Col Anderson thinks that you have potential to become a very good leader.  I also agree with that and that is why I called you in today to have this little mentor session.  If you would like we can meet on a weekly basis to help you become the leader that you are.  What do you say to that?”

Kari sat up straight in her chair and looked at the First Shirt and then said.  “I would like to have you mentor me.  When can we meet again?”

“Kari how about next Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and oh by the way I want you to mentor at least two others on the concepts that we talked about.  If you don’t learn it in a school then we can teach and mentor it in life.”

Kari agreed and she then got up and walked out of the First Shirt’s office, to start her mentoring to others.

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2 Responses

  1. Vic Sockrider says:

    Beth, I am going to use this at my New Year Staff meeting today.
    Thank you for sharing this and I hope that everything is going well for you.

  2. admin says:


    I’m glad this article will help with your New Year Staff meeting. Let me know how it goes. Everything is going GREAT with business and family. We are looking forward to a wonderful 2015. As a matter of fact, I was in the car with hubby this morning and he said, “I’m really glad I made it to 2015”. In his ever understanded matter of fact way he can express the best of every situation!

    Happy new year,


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