17 Wing Winnipeg Welcomes New Wing Commander
17 Wing Winnipeg welcomes Colonel Aaron Spott as our new Wing Commander. Col Spott was born in Naicam, Saskatchewan, and grew up within a very close-knit community where he learned to integrate one of his longest-standing leadership values: treat everybody, regardless of background or standing, first and foremost, like a human being.
In 1991, Col Spott entered Royal Roads Military College where he continued to add lessons learned to his leadership toolbox. “As a leader, you need to be tactfully honest; you need to remember that you’re in a position of leadership, and people will respect you if you do what is right. If you are trusted to be competent, everything else of importance stems from this place of integrity and capability. I also cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining a sense of humour and having fun. I interject humour into everything that I do, but at the appropriate time. Speeches need to be personable; they need to be an honest reflection of who we are.”
From a leadership standpoint, Col Spott expressed the importance of common sense; doing the right thing – especially when no one is watching – and the significance of tapping into the heartbeat of our organization to see where people stand, and to gauge how to move forward in the most effective way.
In his new role and, from a command team perspective, Col Spott aims to spend time away from the office in order to really get to know members (integral and lodger units alike). His goal is to spend time with members seeking to understand their points of view, their priorities, and their concerns. Col Spott believes that, as leaders, we need to support members and assist them in small increments to improve their lives, their output and their performance. He states, “To use a football analogy, don’t always aim to score touchdowns because the relatively short time we have in an organization means they are extremely hard to score. Aim for field goals because they add up over time, and then you can still win the game.”
At this stage in Col Spott’s tenure as Wing Commander, he expressed that both he and the new Wing Chief were in the information-gathering stage. They are meeting with unit Command and Leadership Teams – integral and lodger – with the goal of thoroughly identifying challenges affecting the Wing members; determining what actions need to be prioritized; highlighting where deeper engagement needs to occur; and targeting where the Wing Command Team can act as a “change agent” to produce positive outcomes for the Wing Community. He states, “We need to invest the Wing’s time, and that of its members, in activities that are core; we need to be very selective in what we do and ensure we receive an excellent return on our investment.”
Col Spott expressed, “We are going to look at everything the Wing does – from operations to morale and welfare activities, and we will examine it from multiple angles asking these questions: What are we doing? Can we do it better? Is what’s currently taking place need to be done? We need to figure out what the Wing membership really wants. We don’t want to be doing things simply because they’ve always been done that way. Achieving work-life and family balance while simultaneously meeting our operational priorities is the ultimate measure of success. Any way I can give back time to people to spend with their families is something the Wing Chief and I are willing to aggressively explore.”
Col Spott highlighted the outstanding work Col Proteau accomplished during his time as Wing Commander – particularly in the domains of diversity and inclusion – and how he aspires to continue to build upon the strong foundation already laid by his predecessor. From this standpoint, Col Spott will continue to be an agent of change, and we look forward to seeing what his time as Wing Commander will bring for 17 Wing.