'Paper or Plastic'
By Lt. Col. Freddie Jenkins, Commander, 45th Medical Support Squadron
/ Published October 27, 2011
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- "Paper or plastic?"
We are often asked this question as we pay for our purchased items. It may appear that this will be one of the easiest decisions you will have to make today, right?
However, if you chose paper there is a chance of ripping or taking up extra space. On the other hand, plastic bags do not rip easily, but capacity is an issue; therefore, more are used.
So, why make us chose one over the other? Each individual has his or her reason depending on the expected outcome.
You see, we as leaders, officers and enlisted alike, use this analogy daily without thinking. Good and bad choices are made and executed upon without thought. You don't have to be in a leadership capacity to make a sound judgment.
We make decisions because it's necessary for our mission and welfare of our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines. When given options while at the helm, the outcome of each choice and how it will affect the mission must be considered.
Each decision will have an alternative, even if that choice is to "do nothing." Those we lead will look at us for an answer and will push forward without hesitation. It is critical that options are weighed heavily before providing direction.
There is a tendency to evaluate and to attack those that are considered "low hanging fruit" for a quick win. Then there are those decisions where we must synthesize abilities with other groups, squadrons, and detachments before making the most optimal decision. Nevertheless, we calculate, assess, then execute the mission.
I seriously doubt the situation will be as simple as the paper or plastic bag selection, but certainly something to think about as we are faced with surmounts of unpredicted situations.
So, when given the opportunity to make a decision on paper or plastic, it is optimal to choose both. What I mean by that is sometimes when two options are available and cohesive; using both when given the opportunity can provide leverage and enhance mission completion.