How Great Do You Really Want to Be?

Author By Jim Lara
How great do you really want to be? speedometer needle rising past words Fair Good Great Excellent

How great do you really want to be?

You should regularly ask that question of yourself and your business aviation organization.

You’ll also want to consider whether your flight department’s goals accurately reflect the values and culture that drive your own personal and professional performance standards.

And be brutally honest.

Are these standards empty rhetoric or do they match up with the reality of what actually occurs in your aviation organization?

And, while we’re asking, who is defining that “reality”—is it you? Or maybe your organization’s stakeholders? Perhaps an independent, knowledgeable third party? Or all three?

If it’s you and you alone, watch out!


How Great do you Really Want to Be?

At Gray Stone Advisors, we often hear fashionable slogans, such as excellence,good-to-great and best-in-class.

But do those words really count for anything? Do they ring true? It’s of critical importance that we, as business aviation leaders, define and communicate the standards that are the foundation of our professional and organizational performance.

And then live up to them.


Answer the Hard Questions

No less than every other year, a business aviation leaders hould take the time and muster the courage to take stock of the organization’s current state as well as his or her own position.

Ask: “Where are we regarding our professional and organizational plan and with respect to industry best practices?

Looking back over the past year, what have been our gains as well as our setbacks? Where are we going and how are we going to get there?” And, importantly, “Who are our business aviation peers and how do we stack up with them?”

The starting point, of course, is determining where your aviation organization is right now. And to get an accurate and comprehensive assessment of your organization’s status, you will need several different perspectives. It’s not unlike examining a fine gemstone.

To really understand the value of the gem, you have to look at every facet. Similarly with your organization, you will want to include perspectives from as many of the flight department’s stakeholders as possible.

Those stakeholders are:

  • Employees
  • Executive travelers
  • Clients or customers who use your aviation services
  • Host organization and reporting executive (if you are part of a larger corporation)
  • Vendors for both products and professional services
  • Other groups or people who interact with you on a significant level


Define Your Interests

To ensure that you’re getting the most useful information, create some structure for those who will be providing the feedback. This can be done using an outline specifying your areas of interest.

If you want to gain meaningful insight, then make sure to probe the weighty and potentially sensitive areas. If, for example, you want to know about the safety culture within your organization, make it a point to ask your stakeholders to weigh in on its characteristics and objectively determine why it’s the way it is.

Accordingly, if you want to assess the morale of your aviation workforce, make sure to include specific questions regarding attitude, commitment and engagement.

The bottom line: If you really want to know, you must ask and answer the hard questions.


The Straight Truth, and Nothing But . . .

As important as any other facet of this undertaking is making certain that you choose the right person or organization to process the responses/input and provide you with the results.

What you really want is the raw,unvarnished truth. You can’t learn anything from “ear candy.” You really need to listen to and hear plainly “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

It’s tough, but set your ego aside. Remember, this is all about helping you, the aviation leader,to achieve your desired level of performance. The input you receive must be honest and objective. You should avoid those who are trying to promote their own agenda.

A careful assessment of this feedback should enable you to identify your current state as it compares with where you want to be.

That’s the “gap” that you’ll want to close. Making a focused plan of action to address the gap enables you to define the requisite resources necessary to make progress.

Now come more difficult questions to ask yourself, along with hard decisions that need to be made: “Is it possible to allocate the required resources?” and “Are the desired performance levels rational or should they be adjusted?”

We caution you not to back off on or compromise your plan too easily.

True high performers are never satisfied with “average”results. Make each goal a stretch, but not impossible. Infuse your aviation organization with a sense of what the future means for them as the performance goals are achieved.

Share the satisfaction that comes with being recognized as being top-notch and the best of the best.


Lead from the Front

Our industry is advancing quickly and the pace is accelerating. Great business aviation leaders are always several steps ahead of the pack. It takes serious commitment to remain in front.

Those who remain static will quickly be left behind. You and your team can make the future happen.

But first, you, the leader, must decide just how great you really want to be.


Next Step

At Gray Stone Advisors, we regularly work with top-performing aviation organizations, helping them define what we call their “current state.”

Where are you now, what is your next plateau of operational excellence and how are you going to get there?

Here’s a bit more about our Current State Assessment process. If you’d like to discuss what’s possible, just give us a call at 1-865-357-5077 for a no-obligation, no-cost discussion.