Whiteman AFB Professional Development Center hosts leadership seminar

  • Published
  • By Airman Parker J. McCauley
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

           The Whiteman Air Force Base Professional Development Center hosted the John C. Maxwell Leadership Seminar as part of the 12 Days of Development series of briefings, panels and seminars on Dec. 11, 2018 at the PDC auditorium.

            Retired Senior Master Sgt. John De La Rosa, an executive director with the John Maxwell Team, ran the seminar. John C. Maxwell is the founder and namesake of the John Maxwell Team which has a focus on leadership and growth which De La Rosa spoke about.

    De La Rosa, who was previously stationed at Whiteman AFB before his retirement, described what he thought the key takeaways of the seminar should be.

“I want people to understand that personal growth, constant reading, constant development with themselves is a daily task,” said De La Rosa.

    He said people can learn what changes they need to make through the failures they experience.

    He began the seminar by interacting with the audience as they entered the auditorium. He spoke about his 21-year career in the Air Force where he worked in the fields of aircrew flight equipment and maintenance, and as a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) instructor. Following his retirement, he wanted to help others and became an instructor with the John Maxwell Team.

    “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” said De La Rosa, quoting John C. Maxwell.

    He explained that self-discipline and anticipating things with a positive attitude helps to build the positive momentum. It also requires people taking ownership of what they bring to the table. Without this momentum several things will suffer including morale and performance.

    He described managers as those who put out fires and solve problems while leaders build momentum.

    De La Rosa said there are 6 truths of momentum, which are:

  • Momentum is a great exaggerator

  • It helps followers perform better than they are

  • It is easier to steer than to start

  • It is a powerful agent for change

  • Responsibility of the leader requires vision and assembling a good team

  • It begins inside of you, requires not only vision but passion

    He talked further about capacity and how each person has their own capacity of what they are capable of. It is important to consider the variances in that along with the fact people are often afraid to step out of their comfort zones. An example of that within the Air Force are Developmental Special Duties, where NCOs at the top of their career fields are taken out of their element to grow in an area outside of their normal work.

    De La Rosa said this is the right direction for the Air Force.

    “In order to increase that momentum, you have to be able to increase your capacity,” said De La Rosa. “In other words, allow the demands of life to expose you to the potentials that you have so that you can start operating in those abilities that were already placed in you.”

    In terms of reaching potential he said that:


  • It must matter

  • Leaders initiate, chasers react

  • Systems that help you think less

  • Conserve energy

  • Move on faster

  • Define hard work

  • Compete up

            “Positive momentum is an indicator that you personally are going in the right direction, so if you’re winning in life then you know you’re doing all the right things,” said De La Rosa.


            In addition to the main topics, De La Rosa put an emphasis on networking outside the office at events on base like awards ceremonies. He also explained mentoring as doing all the talking while coaching is also asking questions. Throughout the seminar he brought up some questions for the audience to ask themselves:


  • What are you doing to impact momentum in your organization?

  • Are you taking advantage of networking?

    • Are you getting coaching?


      After the seminar, De La Rosa stayed afterwards allowing airmen from the audience to ask additional questions and get more advice with their personal situations in relation to leadership.