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Embracing Change and Traditional Values to Win the Battle

The global environment is shifting and evolving at a pace unlike any we’ve ever seen before in our country’s history. Our armed forces must not only adapt to this new reality; they must also undergo nothing short of a reinvention in light of not only global realities and technological advances, but also societal and even philosophical changes.

None of this is unprecedented. Since our country’s founding, the United States and its armed forces have each continually adapted to changing norms with impressive resolve. At the same time, we’ve also held to the values and beliefs that have defined our country for nearly 250 years.

The reality of change also affects defense contractors like King Aerospace, which provides numerous MRO and contractor logistical support (CLS) services to the U.S. government and our military.

King Aerospace stands firm in its embrace of what could be termed ‘traditional’ values, including – above all – a commitment to God, Country and Family. “All my energy as a government defense contractor is focused on that mission,” says company Founder and Chairman Jerry King. “It’s a commitment to my country and it’s a commitment to touching lives and changing them for the better.”

That focus and commitment, he continues, isn’t always evident in the military procurement environment. “Over my 40 year career, I’ve been in a lot of facilities where there simply was no leadership within the organization, so very little work got done,” he says. “You could blatantly see money getting flushed down the toilet.”

‘We’re Fighting for Our Lives’

Those experiences, though not common, nonetheless point to a disquieting trend. Just as new global threats emerge to challenge U.S. supremacy and power, our country also faces significant political and social strife within its own borders. That may drive a sense of cynicism and lost purpose, even when supporting critical missions.

King Aerospace is proud to support many U.S. government and armed forces missions, including MRO services for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Dash-8 turboprop aircraft.

To overcome those attitudes, “We need to rock the boat,” says King. “As U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has noted, ‘We’re in a race. And we can’t just hope to win.’ We need to get ready for the challenges ahead, and that’s tough because I think we’ve grown complacent as a country.”

“But change cannot wait,” he emphasizes. “We’ve got to move forward as though we’re fighting for our lives.”

To survive, King Aerospace recognizes that it must also adapt with the times. Doing so, while also adhering to traditional values, “requires a values-based approach to embracing change,” notes James Keyes, author of Education is Freedom: The Future is in Your Hands.

Keyes, former CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc. and former chairman and CEO of Blockbuster Inc., is a close friend of King’s. The two men frequently discuss the importance of leadership and a commitment to service – messages that resonate in both the corporate world and the military procurement environment.

Doing so, however, requires a careful balance between embracing change while also maintaining the values that have brought past success. “A lot of companies and individuals rigidly cling to their values in resisting change of any form, because change is scary,” Keyes notes. “But if you believe strongly enough in your values, you know those values will carry you to a better solution.”

King Aerospace offers a diverse portfolio of services for government, VVIP and other clients across the U.S. and around the globe.

Knowing What’s Inside

Change often arises through challenges, Keyes continues, and challenges offer the opportunity to grow. “Entities that are struggling work harder,” he states. “Adversity is another form of change; it can bring about collapse, or it can be a wakeup call that restores confidence and clarity to weather through any storm.”

That also includes staying open to new ideas, even those that may initially seem contrary to the ‘traditional’ point of view. Keyes emphasized the importance of taking time to listen and learn from others.

“Knowledge is the antidote to fear,” Keyes says. “It’s the light we turn on in the dark so we can understand our situation. That mindset also applies to companies and organizations. Accept that change is inevitable; embrace it, even. Approach those changes with knowledge and understanding, and you can prevail over the competition.”

King hones these insights to three key points. “To succeed in any mission, you need strong leadership,” he says. “You need a strong culture able to inspire the hearts, souls and minds of your employees. And you need to constantly review your processes to ensure they are efficient and that they make sense.”

“Whether in the boardroom or in the hangar, I greatly appreciate Jim’s perspectives on what it takes to lead and to serve,” King adds. “We’ve each taken different paths on our journeys, but we both approach our mission in life with the same values.”

Keyes also complimented King Aerospace, and its founder, for maintaining their integrity throughout many challenges.

“I think Jerry stands above most of us mere mortals on the strength of his character, which is one quality you can’t teach in school,” he concludes. “It’s like picking up a can ofCoca-Cola; you do so because you know what’s inside it. The King Aerospace brand represents integrity, gratitude, humility and compassion. He’s built his entire company around those values.”

Learn more about King Aerospace.