As a student pilot I was taught a fundamental order of flight operations:
- Aviate – Fly the damn thing! No matter what is going on, staying in control, in the air comes first.
- Navigate – Know where you’re going, adjust the controls to get to that destination.
- Communicate – State your position and your intentions to other pilots and your passengers.
To be a successful, safe pilot you must follow these operations, in this order, or you’re going to die.
I’ve learned the same is true in business:
- Aviate – No matter what, provide something of value and get enough in return to profit on that thing. Profit equals lift and lift equals flying.
- Navigate – Do you know your destination? Did you plan for how long it will take you to get there? Do you have enough fuel to make it?
Most importantly, are you keeping your eye on that destination, or flying aimlessly in the wind? It’s easy to get distracted by all that’s going on in your cockpit. But you’re the pilot, and you must keep adjusting the controls to arrive alive.
- Communicate – Are you keeping your crew aware of where you’re going? Are you keeping them excited and focused on your destination so they don’t get bored? Are you telling them what they need to know to stay safe?
In the airplane that is your business, the gas tank is your bank account. Proper maintenance is your quality of service. Your accounting books are your instruments that tell you what’s going on.
Your GPS is a consultant that shows you a true, straight line to your destination, tells you when you’re off course, then shows you which way to correct.
If you find yourself disoriented in an airplane or in your business, the order of operations will keep you alive. Always follow them.
But if you want direction for getting out of that cloud, pay attention the GPS that is your consultant. Good GPS’s don’t lie.