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‘Go to’ personnel

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Although I didn't know it until well after the fact, shortly after I took command of a cyber detachment, a newly promoted staff sergeant approached his recently PCSed technical sergeant supervisor, wondering why the new commander was coming directly to him asking questions and trying to understand what they did and how they did it.

The staff sergeant was filling in as the section lead and had numerous contractors working for him and a master sergeant who was his supervisor. The staff sergeant was concerned I wasn't going to someone with more seniority. I worked with the technical sergeant toward the end of my command and he relayed the story to me. I've thought about it since and the reason was the staff sergeant was one of my "Go To" people. He was one of the people I relied on throughout my command to get the mission done. He was an expert and that was obvious from the day I arrived.

I realize I have another network of Go To people in my current unit. So what does that mean and what does it take to become a Go To person? My Go To people are the experts in what they do and typically have job knowledge or experience that is beyond the average person in their work center. They are also the ones that get the job done, deliver unparalleled support to the customer and keep the mission on track. They often have historical knowledge from years of being in the position or the organization that can help explain why something is done or how the organization got into the current position. Rank or specific position is not a major factor in determining Go To people.

So while it may sound cliché, job knowledge and being the expert at what you do are the primary ways you will become a Go To person. You need to develop a unique or above average skill set when compared with your peers. For supervisors, it is knowing what is going on with things under your purview. If your answer to questions is consistently "I'll have to find out" when asked for status or updates, I'll move on to a Go To person who can answer my questions. The Go To person also typically has a broader mission perspective and understands how their mission fits into the bigger picture of the unit. Go To people know how they enable the mission, what the priorities are and how to make sure they are supporting them.

As I finish up my command, I want to thank all of my Go To people, from my administrative team that kept me on track and on time, to the technical wizards I relied on to deliver the mission and fix things when they were broken, to the planning team that would keep the projects going and me up to speed, to the civilians with historical knowledge that would always answer my questions on why we do it that way or what happened in that instance. I wouldn't have been nearly as successful during the last two years without their support.