I used to work at a headquarters during my last tour in the Air Force. I worked with an engineering unit that sat across a common area from an operations unit. The operations unit was made up of pilots and flight officers. And they had a huge sign that could be read from almost anywhere on the first floor of the building which said, “What are you doing for blue 4 today?”
Coming from air weather service and communications I wasn’t really sure what the sign was saying. I interfaced with a lot of the people in the operations unit, and one day I just had to ask the question, what did the sign mean?
The person I asked, used to fly a jet. He explained to me that blue 4 is the last jet in the flight formation. The sign also had another connotation about being sure that we were doing everything we could for everyone involved right down to the last man.
I had always thought it was important to do my best for everyone. Now that I understood what the saying on the sign meant, I adopted it as my mantra. I don’t fly except commercially, yet I always think of this sign and its meaning.
Whenever I work on anything, I try to look at how the work will be received, and will it be understood. Will what I build or do work down to the very last person involved?
Next time you take a moment and are wondering what you’re doing and how it’s being received, or how your work affects others, you can always ask yourself, “What have I done for blue 4 lately?” If you have the opportunity, you can go out and talk to somebody on the shop floor or someone in the field.
Sometimes you’ll be surprised about what gets through and how it’s perceived. Sometimes it will surprise you in a good way, and sometimes the surprise will make you want to dig in and work harder for everyone, even the last person in line.
Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.