Leadership | Flying blind? Assume Crash Position!

What you can’t see can do the most damage

Weren’t you heartbroken over the death of John F. Kennedy Jr.?

We recently finished a three-day soiree with our long time friends from Boston, who we have visited frequently on Martha’s Vineyard where their family has had a home for more than 100 years.

As usual, the conversation turned to island lore, Fall from Grace, the mystery novel from Richard North Patterson, which takes place on the island (andwhich I highly recommend), … and inevitably to the Kennedy folklore and the tragic death of JFK Jr.

Is it hubris that drives us into the storm clouds?

[pullquote]“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” ~ Jonathan Swift[/pullquote]

My wife has had a lifelong interest in the family side of the Kennedy dynasty, so she was enthralled by a factoid we hadn’t heard before … that as a poignant denouement to that fateful airplane crash, JFK Jr.’s suitcase happened to wash up on the shore of none other than his mother’s home on the island.

During our conversation, my mind drifted to wonder again why JFK Jr. was overreaching his capability as a private pilot.

He had a basic pilot’s license, which permitted him to fly under VFR (“Visual Flight Rules”), which basically means navigating around only the things you can see.

Yet he was flying into weather conditions that required IFR (“Instrument Flight Rules”) for which he was not qualified.

What’s visible is only a small part of the story

Flights operating under VFR are flown solely by reference to what is visible.

What you can see serves as your cue for navigation, orientation, and separation from terrain and other traffic for safe operations during all phases of flight.

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Essentially, it means navigating around only the things you can see, while IFR requires instruments to see the things you can’t see.

“I’ll believe it when I see it” … but if you don’t?

Most of us are pretty good at dealing with what’s in front of us where we’re much more comfortable, aren’t we?

Don’t we often find ourselves saying something like, “I’ll believe it when I see it”, or “seeing is believing”?

Even utilizing all of our five senses, we are primarily attuned to only what is in our current space.

We’re convinced that if we can have full command of what’s in our field of perception, our powerful senses can guide us with great precision and understanding.

We’re good at that, so if we see it, we can handle it.

Does your business have a Certified Instrument Rating?

So, why do we continue to make so many decisions while flying VFR when the conditions demand an IFR instrument rating?

While we might hear or see or smell distant objects, our perception is severely limited by focusing only on what is within our “field of vision”, and hardly substitutes for other tools with more far reaching capability.

Why do we ignore the metrics we can’t see?

Maybe it’s hubris or arrogance that makes us think we can conquer anything regardless of our visibility, but that’s not very realistic, is it?

We really need to devote some quality time to advancing our skills to understand and refine the tools that do belong on our IFR dashboard.

These metrics can range from simple sales reports to more sophisticated business intelligence that captures and tracks information from multiple sources to help us understand what’s happening outside our field of vision.

What kind of aircraft are you flying? Solo? Passengers?

As your business grows, even finely tuned IFR skills will need to be revised and upgraded depending on the type of aircraft you’re flying.

Are you piloting a blimp or a helicopter? Is it a singe engine plane or a multi-engine aircraft?

[pullquote]Every week, we’re sharing valuable and practical leadership tips and tools to help you BECOME a better leader. Why not get these valuable tips and techniques sent directly to your inbox every week so you don’t miss them?[/pullquote]

You’ll need to be clear about that, as well, to make sure you’re collecting the right intelligence and developing the appropriate metrics.

As your team grows, you may even need a further upgrade to an Airline Transport Pilot certificate that allows you to bring other people along with you.

What are you doing to develop your IFR skills?

If you’re a solopreneur, VFR skills may take you a long way.

But if you’re building an organization, you’ll need to develop IFR capability.

So, if you find yourself airborne with only a VFR license, start working on the IFR upgrade that will allow you to navigate safely through those clouds.

Make sure you’re gathering information to measure and monitor what you can’t see.

Our upcoming series will teach you the IFR tools & metrics you need

I’m going to help you with this, too.

In the coming weeks, I will be rolling out a free video program describing some IFR tools and metrics that you can apply to your business.

You can visit the Exkalibur website or our new Facebook page, BuildYourBiz, to make sure you don’t miss this program.

Remember one more thing as you create and build your business:

Takeoffs are optional; landings are mandatory.

What about you?

Have you got your metrics in order … and are you paying attention to every one of them?

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