It can all change in a flash and a crash! Years ago as my friend, Stan, was preparing to land his twin-engine airplane, he was keenly aware that his log entry that day would pass 10,000 flying hours. As Stan turned into the downwind of the traffic pattern, he was feeling the pride for having flown so many hours without an incident. Turning onto the crosswind leg with a clear beautiful sky, Stan again mentally reflected on his superior flying record. When on the final approach, Stan was feeling especially gratified until something happened that he describes like this: “When the propellers started curling up in front of my face, I realized I forgot to put the landing gear down!” Stan crashed landed the plane on its belly, demonstrating that superior performance can end in a flash and a crash! Fortunately, Stan was safe, but his record was tarnished forever.
Sustaining momentum is not an accident and must be managed as intensely as if the team had just failed in achieving their goal. Teams setting new records surely deserve to be recognized, which can motivate them to continue. Sustaining momentum falls upon the leader. Here are some tips:
• Reflect on what brought the team here. What are the lessons learned that led them to this new place and how can you continue?
• Remind the team that it can end in a flash and a crash!
• Personal leadership interaction on the frontlines motivates the team, as it reinforces that the top cares and expects continued excellence.
• Make it personal, where each team member identifies closely with the goal. Relate it to family.
• Follow up on operating audits to ensure discipline to the fundamentals and a healthy tension that keeps them focused.
• Inject fresh energy. Jazz it up! Do something wild and crazy that grabs the attention of the team. Bring Elvis through on a tour or offer up T-shirts or pass out foghorns to blow at the end of the shift.
• Launch a new daily 15 Minute frontline tour as you near the goal, to reinforce Best Practices and habits.
Whether on a record run of perfect customer deliveries, OSHA Free days, Zero Waste, or production, it all comes back to the leader keeping it going. The closer you get to those records, the more you must lead with “renewing energy.” When the team is on the one-yard line, teamwork is intense and the coach remains engaging at an even higher level to keep the focus and adrenaline up.
Be on constant alert, for it can all change in a flash and a crash!
And Pass It On!
Quote of the week from “Wise Man Phil”: “Never let failure get to your heart and never let success get to your head.”
Video of a successful belly landing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg6f1Zv05to
Life is peppered with those few unexpected, yet deeply personal moments that can affect our perspective about our existence. It could be love, a tragedy, or an accident. Whatever they are or whenever they come, one’s outlook on life can shift, for better or for worse. Leaders make it for the better.
I recently had one of those moments. Driving on a six lane street, an SUV traveling from the opposite direction came into my car’s lane of traffic. It is surprising how vividly one remembers those brief seconds. Instinctively swerving into the unoccupied center turn lane, I was not able to escape impact. The SUV struck my sedan on the right front, setting off airbags and such, with my car being a total loss. Fortunately, no one was hurt other than minor cuts and bruises. The other driver apologized profusely for ruining my day.
Reflecting on the incident, these thoughts come to mind:
• I was fortunate that the good Lord and my car protected me. The airbags did their job and the car’s mechanical integrity prevented the SUV from coming into the cabin. I was also fortunate to have a responsive insurance company in State Farm to help my life get back to normal.
• I surprised myself with the “instinctive swerve” that kept the accident from being a direct head-on collision.
• For the next several days, I had a high level of anxiety about driving, anxious that every vehicle on the road would unexpectedly come at me.
• Anyone trained to drive on Europe’s high speed motorways has experienced the instructor admonishing them to “anticipate, anticipate! What if that person pulls out? What if they stop quickly? What if, if, if …?” Maybe I was not scanning the environment like I was trained, considering the “what-if’s”. I wondered if I had dropped my defensive driving guard?
• I was reminded that it can all change in an instant. If the SUV had climbed my fender further and come into the cabin, well…
• I remembered a TED talk by Ric Elias, a passenger on Flight 1549 “Miracle on the Hudson”. Ric’s five minute message that “life can change in an instant” is worth the listen. Here is the link:
Reflecting on my personal moment and upon Ric Elias’s talk, my perspectives on life have been reinforced and tuned:
1. Life’s priorities are faith, family, and job.
2. Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.
3. Eliminate any negative energy that doesn’t move you forward.
Learn from those moments!
And Pass It On!
Quote from Ric Elias on what he learned while the plane crashed: “In my humanity, I also allowed my ego to get in, and I regretted the time I wasted on things that did not matter.”