(Copyright 2000, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Chapter One, Part Two
A primary feature of your flying machine is your organization’s engine or motor, which creates profit by maintaining a steady flow of wind over your wings and a stream of customers coming through your website or front door. It also needs to overcome the negative forces of loss, drag and the overall resistance of the business environment you’re flying through. Your organization’s engine provides the power which enables you to overcome obstacles and maintain a proper altitude by producing a superior product or service. An engine producing poor products or services is in dire need of a tune up, is very inefficient and requires maintenance expertise that your organization may or may not have. If you can’t tune up the engine yourself, then call in someone who can – otherwise you’ll continue to under perform and lose altitude – setting up a potentially dangerous situation.
Your engine unfortunately doesn’t run on air alone and requires fuel to provide the continuous output of energy required to efficiently keep your organization airborne. Peak demands like increasing speed, carrying heavier loads and climbing to higher altitudes requires increasing the fuel flow. This fuel is provided in your organization by harnessing the creativity of your crew and refining it into a unique blend of effort and creativity that produces superior results. Results are produced by finding and maintaining the correct blend and ratio between a high octane level and a focused and sustained creativity index to produce the spark of combustion that your organization’s engine requires. Combustion is the actual internal process within your engine that propels the organization forward and generates greater profits. Profits lift the organization ever higher and higher into the wild blue yonder and allows your organization to fly independently under its own power!
Now realistically, it’s not quite that simple. A flying company can be quite a complicated bit of machinery. You have to get the fuel mixture right. There are dials and gauges to watch over and interpret. The business climate around you can produce severe weather and turbulence. If you’re not being careful or clearing the airspace visually out the cockpit windows and forget to pay attention to your radar, your flying machine might just crash into a mountain or another flying organization! In order to avoid these and many other pitfalls in your flying environment, you need a skilled, confident and daring pilot – commonly referred to as an entrepreneur – in the cockpit to fly your organization. Your pilot is called the Captain because he or she is in charge and responsible for the safety of everyone onboard. To the right of the Captain in the cockpit is the First Officer or co-pilot, whose duties are to assist the pilot in flying your organization.
Your flying organization also needs a good navigator sitting just behind your pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit. His or her job is to plot your course, operate the radar, monitor your engine’s performance and keep an eye on the overall flight environment in order to keep your flying machine on course and on schedule according to the flight plan. The navigator is the one who creates your flight plan – commonly referred to as a business plan – and prepares the route of flight for each leg of your organization’s journey to its destination. The navigator could wear many different hats and be referred to in various ways, such as: the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), President of the Company, General Manager (GM), Board of Directors, Owner or Senior Partner – and he or she may also be the pilot of your organization as well. However, the more hats one person wears in this flying machine the more difficult his or her job becomes. If he or she isn’t on the ball, they might overlook something critical to the safety of flight and cause your flying organization to have an emergency on their hands. Commonly, your pilot will will be referred to as the entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President. Your co-pilot is typically the Senior Vice President and the navigator is often referred to as the Chief Operations Officer (COO).
Another key member of your flight crew is the flight engineer, or the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). His or her job is to monitor the switches, knobs, gauges and instrument displays commonly referred to as performance indicators. You’ll want to keep track of your organization’s performance while airborne to ensure you have a smooth flying operation under you. Your navigator is watching out for obstructions and keeping you on course by paying close attention to your flight plan and route of flight. In much the same way, your flight engineer is keeping track of the flying organization’s performance indicators, as well as monitoring the business climate. His or her desk in your flying organization should have lots of dials and gauges that display up to the minute status readings for monitoring these various performance indicators, like altitude, airspeed, lift, drag, fuel flow, fuel quantity and overall engine performance. When necessary, he or she can advise the entrepreneur to throw a few key switches and address critical issues like icing conditions and turbulence that affect safety of flight, or recommend to the navigator that a course alteration is required to the flight plan. The flight engineer keeps the organization’s focus on basic performance parameters and doesn’t allow the pilot to get too distracted from safely flying the organization.
Perhaps by this time you’re thinking, “Getting a flying organization airborne is a lot more complex and difficult than I originally thought!” Well, in some ways you’re right and in other ways you’re wrong. Flying a small organization can be a relatively simple process if you’re the pilot or entrepreneur and wear all the hats yourself. You can even fly solo by the seat of your pants and take off in clear weather and have a wonderful sightseeing flight over the countryside for the afternoon. However, if you desire to fly your organization as a jumbo jet, then you need to do your homework and spend quite a few hours in an accredited flight training program learning the ropes.
The most important point that you need to take away from this block of instruction is that if you’re losing altitude (money), jettison everything that isn’t nailed down (not producing profits). Just like the old fashioned gas balloon pilot attempting to gain altitude by throwing sand bags over the side, you must do whatever you have to do in order to maintain lift and overcome loss. If you have lots of altitude, perhaps you have time to adjust the fuel mixture and add more creativity in order to enable your engine to give you additional performance, but if you’re already at low altitude there isn’t any time! If your business doesn’t have a highly trained and qualified pilot in the cockpit, is saddled by excess inventory that is no longer in demand or burdened by a department with a negative creativity performance ratio, then you need to correct the situation immediately to avoid crashing. As the pilot and entrepreneur of your flying organization, it’s up to you to make something happen. All eyes will be on you to provide the leadership and vision needed to get out of the current crisis your organization’s in. Remember, the rest of the crew are counting on you. If you crash, everyone goes down together. If you recover, there might just be smooth sailing and a very pleasant voyage ahead for everyone. Preparation is everything, timing’s the key. Good luck, bon voyage and God speed!
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