Don't Be A Hero

Just like fighter pilots trust their wingmen to ensure a successful mission, your business will get shot down if you try flying solo

Written by Rick Spence

Too many business leaders are making a mistake: they’re trying to do it do it all themselves.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Rob “Waldo” Waldman, a decorated fighter pilot who flew 65 missions over Kosovo and Iraq and for the US Air Force, you’ll never reach your highest potential working alone. Just as a fighter pilot has his wingmen to help him dodge missiles and complete missions safely, success in business depends on the mutual support of trusted associates.

Waldman is the author of Never Fly Solo, a New York Times best-seller that turns real-life lessons learned as a fighter pilot into practical business leadership skills. Here are some of the lessons that have transformed his own life as a successful entrepreneur and sales manager in Atlanta, Ga.:

  • Whether you’re in a cockpit, a boardroom or a cubicle, focus is crucial to success.
  • Fighter pilots train for years to deal with hostile fire, engine failures, bad weather and even bird strikes. In the real world entrepreneurs face similar obstacles: sales objections, missed deadlines, task overload, or even the flu. Conscientious preparation can turn adversity into success. As Waldman likes to say, “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in battle.”
  • Simulations are the best way to prepare for any type of mission—and the ultimate simulator is the human mind. Mentally rehearse every mission you undertake. Wingmen never “wing it.”
  • Whenever possible, rehearse scenarios with a wingman—preferably someone who is more experienced than you are.
  • Transform your business relationships. Treat your colleagues as trustworthy, interdependent partners for success.
  • When trouble strikes, take courageous action: Ask for help.

Rick Spence is the Toronto-based author of the Canadian Entrepreneur blog and a consultant on marketing, strategy and business growth. You can reach him at rick@rickspence.ca.

More columns by Rick Spence

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com