Friday, September 30, 2011
"Do, Or Do Not. There Is No Try."
A colleague recently paid me a complement. It was in the context of his upgrade to Captain. He said, ”I value what you say because of all that you have experienced during your career.” I was flattered and thanked him. My real gratitude came when it caused me to actually think about what I had learned from my nearly 30 years in the left seat of a commercial airliner.
A Jedi Master, I am not. Some days, however, I do feel the way Yoda looks. I have learned a few things along the way and I want to share them with those who are interested. Each one of these little proverbs was distilled from actual experience. Some wisdom I gained as a Captain was acquired from watching and listening. Other things I had to learn the way I learned not to ride my bike with flip flops, even after my Mom said, “Put your shoes on!”
These are not procedural steps like a recipe for success, rather a path to a more rewarding and effective state of mind.
• Know how to stay safe and commit to that goal. There are no do overs with safety
• Find something you like about going to work
• Try to make your co workers job easier, or at least not more difficult
• You don’t need to know how to build or repair the airplane, just how to operate it
• Think about how you would manage critical non normal and emergency situations before you experience them
• Establish and maintain your focus on the flight from pushback to block in
• Never ever let someone inside or outside the airplane talk you into doing something you are not 100% OK with
• When you are making a decision, reflect on how it would be judged after the fact
• You don’t always know whom you are talking to or who might hear or read what you have said. Watch what you say
• Always tell the truth, they’re going to find out anyway
• If you are not absolutely, positively sure of the answer, look it up
• If you have a question or are unsure about anything, get it resolved BEFORE you leave. It will only get worse
• When you set a bottom line, make sure you have a realistic plan “B” that you are completely willing to implement
• Remember the customers pay your salary. Give them what they want
Let the force be with you!