Pre-flighting 2020

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020.  A new chapter, a new decade and 365 chances to advance and grow!  Today, I’d like to take a look at the best way to get started…

When preparing to undertake a flight, the first thing pilots do is preflight their aircraft.  It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at – whether you’re still learning the skills to fly, whether you’re working you way through adding experience to your logbook or whether you’ve been flying majestic airliners for decades…. You don’t go anywhere without a preflight check.

This inspection allows the pilots to establish a number of foundational criteria that deem it worthwhile to move forward with the flight and that support the successful accomplishment of that flight.  It also allows them to become familiar with their particular aircraft for that flight and to mentally get in the zone before they continue with further briefings on what they must accomplish.

A preflight check allows you to assess the airworthiness of you craft and it requires that you work your way methodically through a list of checks to determine that your aircraft is both legally and physically ready to fly.  Checking the paperwork that details the legal certification and licencing of the aircraft is one part of this check.  A “walk around” of the aircraft itself to check the physical workings, engines, orifices, fluid levels, control surfaces and general “health” is the other part.

Even as a young child, I remember my Father “preflighting” the car every time we were to depart on a longer family car ride.  Literally everything from the paperwork, licencing, oil, water and tire pressure would be checked.  It meant that once we hit the road, he was confident with what he was dealing with.  Our aviation programming as a family stays with us all in one or other way, and I think about it often.

There is no reason that you shouldn’t use this exact same practise to preflight 2020.  To make sure that, once you embark on the mission that you’ll pour your time, energy and soul into accomplishing, there aren’t any minor snags or oversights that will stop you short of obtaining your goals.

Before you start to strategize about the deeper intricacies of what you need to accomplish; divvying up responsibilities, plotting routes and planning timelines – make sure the foundation on which you’re about to build is ready to support you.

Regardless of whether you’re building a company, planning a trip or starting a project, make sure the legal paperwork is in place to support you.  Make sure any expiry dates are accounted for and there’s nothing of this nature that will interrupt or hold up your forward motion.

Do a physical walkaround of your environment and equipment so that you’re fully in the zone and cognisant of what you’re working with.  Keep your eyes open for anything that may develop into a snag, and anything that you can pre-empt.  Whether you’re the CEO of a larger corporate, the Head of a school or the leader of a smaller team – perform a “walk around” of your environment with the mental intention of refamiliarizing yourself and ensuring it’s ready to support you.  Remember that as a leader, your experience gives you a greater chance of enhanced Big Picture thinking that others on your team may not have developed yet.  Applying that Big Picture understanding to what you see, hear and feel allows you to see consequences others may not be able to interpret.

Talk to your crew, either during your walk around or after, ask them how they’re prepared for the journey ahead and whether there is anything they need to bring to your attention before you set off.  If your crew are spread over their own spaces, it may be more effective for you to go to them to ask this so that they’re cognisant of their own environment and headspace when they answer.  There also may be things it’s easier for them to share one-on-one than in a group setting.

Ensure your tools are up to date and that your team is either fully qualified to meet the requirements of the journey you’ve planned, or will be provided for as you progress.  Ensure you have adequate fuel for the trip and that, if it’s a particularly long and arduous trip, that you’ve planned refuelling stops and sustenance along the way so that you and your team don’t burn out.

Now is your chance to preflight 2020.  Now is your chance to get your head in the zone and to catch the errors that might stop you getting off the ground at all, or ground you at a later stage when you’d rather be flying.

Ask yourself what it is you want to accomplish.  Check your supporting paperwork.  Check your physical equipment and environment.  Check your crew and ensure they have what they need.

And when you’ve finished preflighting, come and join us for a full day strategy session on January 16th to make sure your team is fully engaged and pulling in the same direction.  See further details here, and email for pricing and availability.

by Christen Killick

January 6th, 2020

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