Opening Insights: Specialist
Welcome, my name is Arthur Cunningham. I am a program specialist for the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UH Hilo). I work with students, academics, administrators, community leaders and business owners. I have education and experience in the following areas:
- Leadership: 13 years, time in service: Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard
- Education: Aviation Business Administration bachelor’s degree, minor in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and helicopter pilot license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)
- Know-How: 3.5 years in program and curriculum development for University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UH Hilo)
- Pocket Wisdom Insights: PWI student, familiar with PLT, principle-based culture and teamwork
My time in the Air Force presented the opportunity to learn about my fellow man. I was in active duty for four years, Air Force Reserve for seven, and I have been drilling as Hawaii Air National Guard for one year now. I’m still enlisted. Different people join a branch of the armed forces for different reasons, but generally all who serve share a love of country.
Informational Insights: My Passion and Intention
Many join the armed forces in pursuit of, mentoring, and a sense of belonging. They typically find one out of three.
- Structure is found, military discipline is famous
- Mentors are RARE; trainers are a dime-a-dozen. Sure the job of every troop is to train their replacement, but how is a real mentor created? Troops learn WHAT to think, but they don’t learn HOW to think
- Belonging is experienced, but only superficially. Troops share the same outside, but many are unable to connect with others, thus contributing to a high armed forces suicide rate and problems with substance dependence
The armed forces do a good job of educating troops about leadership and management practices, but they don’t teach anyone how to be a grown-up or how to use their intelligence. Military culture teaches troops WHAT to think: It is expected for troops to know and give the “right answer” rather than bothering with the correct, or true, response.
Question: “How often do you drink, and why?”
Right answer: “Only one drink at a time, occasionally, and only at social events.”
Real answer: “I drink a six-pack a night, to calm my mind and be able to sleep.”
Giving the “right answer” is a rewarded behavior, as long as you aren’t caught in the lie. Answering truthfully may cause trouble. This is a broken and dysfunctional culture.
Many who join the armed forces are fresh out of high school. Many of those individuals were raised by parents who were never taught how to be parents. How will these individuals learn how to be mentors? Will they learn how from adult-children just like them? Not likely.
Becoming Part of the Solution
Mentors are not born, they are created. A mentor knows HOW to think. They can see the big picture. They are mature in emotions and in their decisions. Emotional maturity is a requirement for being an adult and it is a necessary ingredient for interdependent relationships. Interdependence is a synergy multiplier.
Rather than continuing to have adolescents train other adolescents, why not build a program where adults are born first, then shaped into mentors? My vision is to see such a pilot program introduced and developed at my local Air National Guard unit. We will build mentors and develop a principle-based team culture.
A Military Culture Co-Lab Institute for Discovery would add structure and support to troops seeking to better themselves and become more effective team members. It would provide a framework for mentors to capture their wisdom and pass on their knowledge more effectively (with measureable results). Troops would have access to all the services offered by PWI including family assistance resources, employee assistance resources, skills development, and addiction recovery.
A Military Culture Co-Lab Institute for Discovery would add to the existing principle-based culture by providing a deeper understanding of core values and show why troops should embrace them. In general a culture of support, strength through interdependence, and wisdom-seeking would be nurtured.
A Military Culture Co-Lab Institute for Discovery provides troops and their families with the tools needed to grow, learn, and mature. With the PWI team, technology, and community as available resources we will be able offer an invitation for others to join in our mission of individual and team development.
I welcome local legislators, community leaders, public officials, high school principals, business owners, career advisors, and many local residents to join this important cause.
Currently I have the support of a number of influencers, change makers, and organizations, all who will be invited to participate and contribute to the Co-Lab:
- Our District Senator is a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, a C-17 flight instructor for the Air National Guard, and a staunch supporter of the UH Hilo Aeronautical Science program
- The ERAU alumni network is famously connected to aerospace businesses worldwide
- UH Hilo is a state university with formal ties to the state government including the Department of Education
- Local UAS businesses have a track record for exemplary corporate social responsibility and I know the owners of four
It is my hope that together we will drive this dream along with others of like-mind. In order to spearhead this dream we are writing a Flip eBook called “The Military Co-Lab Project.”
The Military Co-Lab Project Flip eBook will document and memorialize the mission, vision, goals and implementation plan of the Military Culture Co-Lab Institute for Discovery – we welcome and invite all to participate and contribute.
We seek like-minded community member’s, leaders and visionaries, associations, professionals, educational institutions, media, supporters, vendors, donors and sponsors to join us in making our dream big enough for everybody.
Keeping in mind “any problem well defined is already half solved.” We invite you to submit your comments below, as they relate to helping us define the problems, define the answers and discover solutions to the challenges we may face in reaching our goal. So that together we can develop a Co-Lab Institute, where together we can create long-term implementable app-based solutions to reach our communities, businesses, schools, industry and world.
Possibilities for Consideration: Mission Critical
- Why is our mission important to you, the military, community and world?
- How can you participate and contribute to our mission?
- What problems do you see us potentially experiencing as we start to move towards our goal?
- What answers to these problems can you suggest and share?
…remembering our goal is to create mentorship programs to better teach, nurture and evolve the culture into one of trust, discovery and maturity, rather than fear and compliance.
Add Your Insight: Reaching Out
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Being willing is not enough; we must do.
LEONARDO DA VINCI