#142 The flying lesson

Hello, friends.

Let me brag on my father-in-law for a moment.

He’s incredibly curious and never stops learning. And in my observation, curiosity plus persistence are two primary traits of successful people. Rodger is a case in point. He’s been happily married for almost 50 years. He enjoys great relationships with his kids and peers. He’s built financial security. He’s stayed committed to his faith. Like I said, he’s successful.

And recently, he became a pilot, realizing a dream from his youth.

As a newly minted pilot, he flew down to our little part of NC and took us up for a spin. It was fun and a great learning experience — applicable for running a business.

One of the first things you notice is the amount of attention and communication it takes. There is a lot going on for a pilot during take off, in the air, and landing.

Before the prop or turbine turns, there is an exhaustive pre-flight check. These exterior and cabin inspections are critical to identify and fix any potential problems that may occur during flight. They are performed in the same sequence every time. This is a good practice.

At the beginning of the day, go through your own “pre-flight check” to make sure you have everything you need to work productively.

Another thing I noticed was the amount of talking between air control, our plane, and other pilots. I had no clue what the myriad of acronyms, call signs, and aeronautical jargon meant, but the pilots spoke it fluently. It wasn't the talking that impressed me. It was the listening. After each command the pilot repeated his instructions back to the tower verbatim. When you are in the air, you can't afford to have miscommunication or, even worse, assumption.

This is also true when working with distributed teams and clients. More often than I like to admit in the past I have half-heard another party on a conference call or made assumptions from an incomplete email. It is better to have someone repeat or clarify than act on something unclear. Try repeating back to the messenger what was said to make sure you received it clearly.

Once back on the ground we were met by several airport staff. My father-in-law and they started chatting like they were old friends. Pilots have a tribe to themselves and welcome each other with open arms. They relate with one another on a unique level of shared experiences and expertise.

Internal collaboration with your team should feel the same. Working hard to develop community will create value enjoyed by your customers and your company.

Until next time,

P.S. Inspired by an old Apple commercial for sure, here’s an “ad” for The Golfer’s Journal - To the Tee Breakers

P.S.S. A reminder by Mark Schaefer that everything is marketing - Reconsidering the marketing budget when everything is marketing

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