Lesson #12: Leadership Lessons from the Cockpit
“Keep up your scan.” These were reinforcing words from my flight instructor as I was training for my instrument rating with no visual reference outside the cockpit. He was referring to the six primary flight instruments (six-pack) essential to successful spatial/situational awareness from inside the cockpit.
Spatial disorientation in the cockpit is deadly. This is what caused the tragic loss of John F Kennedy Jr., wife (Carolyn) and sister-in law (Lauren) in July, 1999.
While hardly a worthy comparison in business, the same phenomena can throw you off course in your business too. Spatial Disorientation can be caused by fixation on one instrument, instead of constant scanning of all six to maintain a stable flight.
Today’s airplane instrument panels are more modern with better visual references from the PFD (primary flight display) and the MFD (multifunction display), taking on a more robust look and feel. Yet, despite the advancement in avionics, the six-pack is still embedded as the primary source of input to help maintain controlled flight.
In this sense, all businesses need their own instruments to scan. The Scorecard along with the weekly Level 10 meeting, are two perfect tools to help keep the organization in control and on course.
Your scorecard provides data and trends that will predict future outcomes. The key is to find 5 – 15 data points that will give you a full picture of your business – not just one isolated viewpoint. Then you need to scan this data often to make sure you stay on course. This brings in the Level 10 Meeting.
Your Level 10 meeting is where you discover the trends that will spark the conversations that eventually lead to the real issues. It enables you to stay in front of your business – not chase the needle.
Frequent scans of the right data will consistently keep you on course. This is true in the cockpit as well as in your conference room!
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