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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!

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