Pilot Lessons – Aviate, Navigate, Communicate

There are learnings which are similar to being an aeroplane pilot and leading an organisation

The classic rhyming phrase is well-known to anyone who has ever flown. Piloting an aeroplane safely is about these three words

When it comes to emergencies, this is the standard procedure in the aviation industry. In an emergency, pilots might become so preoccupied with addressing a problem that they lose sight of the task of flying the aircraft altogether. When an indicator light on Eastern Airlines Flight 401 went out, the pilots were preoccupied with that and lost control of the aircraft.

The axiom “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” teaches the pilots first to fly the plane and then worry about where the plane is going (navigate). Once the issue is under control, they are instructed to communicate with the persons involved.

In most cases, the human error resulting from stupidity is to be blamed for most losses, not risk. Pressure people to take stupid actions, which is a result of losing control. The failure of an aircraft, bad weather etc. are all potential causes of an accident, but human error accounts for a startling proportion of them.

Human mistakes can be minimised by applying this straightforward approach in any situation. All it does is assist in staying alert so that you can have the best chance of a positive outcome. “Why make it more complicated than necessary?”

The principles apply anywhere. Even while you’re behind the wheel of a car. It’s important to keep in mind that if something goes wrong while you’re driving with others, focus on getting the automobile to a safe location first, and then worry about the individuals.

Being able to control one’s emotions is an asset while trying to arrive at a decision that will produce the desired results. In difficult situations, being able to take control of the situation will only benefit you further.

Being an effective leader is no different in business. Keeping operations safe and efficient should be the primary focus. To get your firm operating/flying, you’ll need to take immediate and critical steps. Every decision may be made more wisely if you take the time to examine your performance measurements (the business equivalent of flight instruments). The first step is to identify the important metrics. Your metrics may not be the best use of your time in a workplace when evaluation parameters are different from yours. In a crisis, resist the temptation to obsess over non-essential but “regular operating” metrics or demands.

It’s now time to figure out the best plan of action to move through the current scenario (uncontrollable factors) once you’ve been in a glide mode. Determine the optimal strategic outcome for your situation then make sure the operational actions are in sync with your strategic objective. There will be problems but do your best to focus on what you can influence while remaining flexible enough to respond to the challenges brought by what you cannot. Depending on how things develop, your altitude and airspeed may be determining factors, similarly, it is the prevailing market scenario & other factors.

Communication. Understand the situation and then communicate. Don’t communicate for communication’s sake with some illogical matter. Likewise in an aircraft, the pilot should give relevant pointers. Don’t get distracted by “noise” which will happen in the aeroplane and corporates, Distractions can lead to detrimental situations which can affect both the aeroplane and the organization. Usually, distractions divert the attention of pilots and leaders from the core issues at hand and are a waste of resources.

Calm/ Unruffled are usually those who survive accidents. Focusing on what you can manage and adjusting that level of control as situations change is the key to becoming a successful pilot/ leader

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