Service with a smile: MPS achieves excellence through empowerment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Dillon Johnston
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Results from the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 Air Force Personnel Center personnel action report have affirmed the 341st Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Section as the best in Air Force Global Strike Command.

The MPS attained not only the best in AFGSC, but second overall for small MPSs Air Force-wide, and third for all MPSs in the Air Force, regardless of size. These achievements were made possible through consistent dedication from the Team Malmstrom members who work in the MPS.

"We are not a '1-800-Here's the website organization;' that's not our style," said Brian Jolly, 341st FSS manpower and personnel flight chief. "Our attitude is to delight (each) customer by delivering the highest possible standards."

Providing a number of vital personnel processes for the base, including implementing the new Force Improvement Program initiatives, the MPS constantly delivers professional and accurate services, helping to keep Team Malmstrom in the fight.

"With FIP dominating the news, what often is overlooked are the people behind the scenes implementing medal programs and the new special duty and assignment incentive pay programs. (Those are) our guys," said Ken Sylva, 341st FSS MPS chief. "They're like linemen on a football team, in the trenches doing the heavy lifting with little glamor or recognition, but the moment they stop, our operators get sacked."

One of the "linemen" on the MPS team is Staff Sgt. Leanee De Los Santos, a force management supervisor. She strives to provide excellent customer service because it's how she would want to be treated.

"I know I wouldn't want my records messed up," De Los Santos said. "I try to help everybody as much as I can and provide the best answers, and make sure everybody is taken care of."

As a relatively new staff sergeant, De Los Santos has only been to one other base, but can easily see the stark differences in how her new MPS operates.

"There's a lot more customer care here," she said. "Just better interaction with the community and overall people on the base."

What makes this particular MPS unique is the abundance of young first-term, first-base Airmen who are responsible for the base's personnel workload every day.

"We have an extremely, extremely young staff," Sylva said. "Where we're authorized two master sergeants and a senior master sergeant, we had none that quarter. Where we're authorized four technical sergeants on the MPS central staff we had two, and where we're authorized five staff sergeants, we had three.

"When you look at the manning board, it is completely filled up with first-term, first-assignment Airmen, and that's what makes them special," he continued.

Sylva and Jolly believe promoting an environment of innovation and trust is paramount in growing their young Airmen.

"We don't dwell on our people making mistakes - we just don't," Jolly said. "Our people don't come in (to work) feeling threatened, I think that's important in developing our Airmen."

"I want them to lean forward and take risks," Sylva said. "And we try to reinforce that - we don't try - we do reinforce that."

"You can't have innovation if you don't let them have the freedom to think," Jolly added.

Looking to the future, Sylva and Jolly want to continue in the same direction and strive to attain even greater achievements through continuous process improvement and challenging and empowering the staff of the MPS.

"We ask our Airmen to do things that are far beyond their (paygrade)," Sylva said. "I tell our Airmen that my job is not to make them staff sergeants, if you're an Airman my job is to make you a technical sergeant.

"We are constantly double checking and triple checking each other - not in a 'gotcha' standpoint, but from a 'how can we improve this' standpoint," he continued.

In the end, all of the hard work that goes into making the lives of Team Malmstrom members easier comes from respect and pride in the work they do each day.

"We're proud of the operators on base," Sylva said. "We take great pride in helping them complete their mission, because it is a team fight, and if they are in here taking care of personnel it means they aren't out there taking care of operational, maintenance, and security forces business."