I just returned from Parents Weekend at the United States Air Force Academy. My son is now a senior there, a "Firstie" in USAFA lingo. My wife and I have witnessed a remarkable transformation since he entered basic cadet training in the summer of 2009; he and his classmates have grown physically, academically, socially and, yes, militarily.
Viewed from a distance in a parade formation, the cadet wing appears homogenous; their precision marching might further suggest that. However, the cadet population at USAFA is incredibly diverse; cadets come from all 50 states (with some exchange students from other countries) and every imaginable ethnic background, yet the culture is remarkably compatible
As parents, we were invited to "attend" several classes, where it was possible to catch a glimpse of the USAFA Culture at work. The instructor in a senior-level class, who is a US Naval Officer and helicopter pilot, had this to say about his students:
"Don't let anyone tell you that this younger generation isn't as good as those who came before them. They are very bright and easy to motivate, if they understand the Big Picture." ~ Commander Kyle Michael, Military Strategic Studies instructor
If you want to restore your faith in our future as a nation, in the grand cultural experiment known as the United States of America, I encourage you to visit one of our military service academies.
In the world of business, human life or national security may not be at risk in the work we do every day, but high-performance cultural principles are the same. When a group of people understand The Big Picture, and are linked through shared core values, remarkable things happen.