Aboard 'Never Fly Solo'
Title: Never Fly Solo: Lead with Courage, Build Trusting Partnerships, and Reach New Heights in Business
Author: Lt. Col. Rob "Waldo" Waldman
Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780071637060, 208 pages
Review: Never Fly Solo
By Patrick Brigger, getAbstract
The cockpit of a fighter jet is the last place you would expect to find someone with claustrophobia and a fear of heights. Remarkably, Lt. Col. Rob "Waldo" Waldman managed to keep that little secret from the US Air Force during a stellar career in which he flew 65 combat missions in Serbia and Iraq. Now a professional leadership speaker, the retired pilot uses lessons from his Air Force days to inspire others to strive for success in business and life. Waldman is most compelling when he shares military stories and explains the tools and techniques he used to overcome adversity. He deserves credit for attempting to draw instructive parallels between his military experiences and life in the corporate world, and he sustains the metaphor of a pilot and his "wingmen." However, Waldman rarely strays from a traditional leadership course, recycling age-old advice about pursuing dreams and building relationships. Though experienced fliers may not need to climb aboard, readers with only ground-level exposure to motivational leadership material will find value and inspiration in Waldman's flight.
Support for your dreams
Success in business--and life--requires hard work, a positive attitude and the ability to overcome adversity. Even those who triumph at the highest levels understand the importance of a good support team. No one can succeed without other people's help. Even highly skilled fighter pilots would never dream of flying a mission without their trusted "wingmen." Whether you're strapped into a cockpit at 20,000 feet or running a sales meeting, you must be able to depend on others to help you navigate choppy air.
While you want the confidence of knowing who has your back in an emergency, of course, you are ultimately responsible for setting your own path. No one can do it for you. Begin by identifying your mission, a dream that makes you passionate about your objectives. Yet motivation alone will not guarantee success. You must accompany drive with action--the willingness to move forward, especially when you're frightened, insecure or overwhelmed.
Fighter pilots spend hours reviewing every possible scenario that could arise during a mission. They try to be ready for all kinds of emergencies, and they rehearse the steps they would take in any given situation. Businesspeople also must be ready to deal with unfavorable circumstances. What's your plan if the computer system goes down for an extended period? How would your company compensate if key personnel took jobs elsewhere? What would happen if a sudden economic downturn created the possibility of layoffs? Learn from the experience of others. Books and industry magazines are excellent sources of information. Talk to colleagues who have lived through particular scenarios. You can never get enough feedback.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness. In fact, expecting support from people within your outfit is perfectly reasonable. Fighter pilots could never survive combat missions without their wingmen. A jet's tiny cockpit doesn't allow pilots much movement, leaving them especially vulnerable to enemy planes directly behind them in the six o'clock position. Wingmen in combat constantly check "each other's six," making sure that no squadron member is left open to attack from the rear. In the corporate world, "checking six" boils down to these three elements:
• "Effective communication": Keep your eyes open. Recognizing when a co-worker is struggling and may be in real danger of falling apart isn't always easy. Some people keep to themselves, working behind closed doors and rarely communicating. They may be filled with self-doubt or alienation. They may want to reach out, but may not know how. Check in with your colleagues. Provide encouragement and a sympathetic ear...
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