How flight school was perfect training for entrepreneurship

Students pilot is taught to anticipate changes and work to remain ahead of any that may come. Business leaders should take notice.

Life as a business owner is never dull, always busy and filled up with hourly surprises. After working at Apple for several years, I began my very own journey to learning to be a small business owner, you start with my quest for an MBA. But, today, when I look back, my twelve months of flight school was better preparation forever as a business owner and small business operator than any MBA class

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From all my flight school lessons I’ve distilled three major ideas: 1) Preparation prevents problems; 2) Resilience works the problem; and 3) Focus creates calmness.

Owning a business, especially a tech business, is complicated. I love to tell individuals who the tech industry isn’t an agreeable industry, but is instead one which sits at the intersection of Wall Street and Hollywood Boulevard!

More seriously, though, owning a business can result in physical changes, rather than for the nice. Specifically, when things get complex, our memories fail due because of our increased tendency to be distracted when under stress. With this problem, called an "all-or-none" process, we’re overwhelmed, our memories fail, and we skip steps to escape a distressing situation.

In an identical regard, flight school taught me the need for a checklist. Simulation Studios does something comparable to a checklist by creating exceptionally complicated business simulations for companies. Using the custom software we’ve created, we bring the answer to a customer company and run its executives through a one-day, live business “war games” simulation.

In these simulations, the execs confront an endless set of tasks they must complete so that you can ensure success. That’s where checklists can be found in: Using a little bit of paper for complex situations has saved our very own company more times than I could count. We live by checklists. They create consistency and drastically reduce errors while ensuring quality.

Whoever has started a business or worked in virtually any entrepreneurial capacity knows well that one constant: change. Creating a summary of everything that change in a single week in virtually any small company is tough because it’s endless. Smaller businesses by necessity must move considerably faster than large ones. Due to this fact, becoming more comfortable with change is crucial.

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In flight school, students are taught to anticipate change. It may be the elements, instrumentation problems, air traffic issues or change in engine functionality. Student pilots figure out how to expect such changes and work to remain ahead of any that may come.

In a nutshell, they’re taught to "work the problem." This boils down to resilience training. During flight school, the instructor will cut an engine, remove a radio, stall the plane, remove visual flight rules (VFR) conditions and much more. Despite the fact that conditions may be “safe,” most student pilots feel a tightness in the chest and other signs of increased adrenaline.

Here, the student is taught to remain calm, be more comfortable with the change and — you guessed it — review the checklist. The outcome teaches a pilot to systematically watch today’s and look in to the future, so that you can "work the change" in virtually any given circumstance. As time passes and through training, an excellent pilot becomes comfortable coping with any change that might occur.

That appears like the makings of an excellent business leader, aswell.

As stated, whenever we humans get stressed, we do our better to rush from the situation. Learning how exactly to remain calm is vital. Flight school teaches students that even when confronted with an impending crash, they are able to stay calm by staying focused. This focus will come in the form of running right through sequential steps: Don’t panic, fly the plane, measure the situation and do something.

In 1999, my very own single engine plane had an engine failure occur about one mile right out of the airport and at a 1,000-foot altitude. The engine failure happened unexpectedly, and my flight training kicked in as an old habit: Don’t panic, fly the plane, measure the situation and do something. I followed the checklist and could safely land the plane without injury.

On a much bigger scale, for people who have seen the movie Sully, dramatizing the "Miracle on the Hudson," you’ll recall references to a checklist. Based on the NTSB report: “The first officer indicated that, because he previously just completed training, he immediately recognized that the function was an ECAM exception; therefore, he could promptly locate the task listed on the trunk cover of the QRH, turn to the correct page and begin executing the checklist.”

Because of effective flight training, things proved perfectly for Sully’s flight. The same could be put on your business on any given day: Every entrepreneur must do the same whenever a problem arises: Don’t panic, fly the plane (i.e., lead the business), measure the situation and do something.

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In a nutshell, startup and small enterprises should utilize these simple flight school concepts from flight school. Flight school methods work together with one other and may become habitual easily. Remember: Prepare with checklists. Resilience creates comfort. Focus keeps you calm. Once these exact things become natural, you may take on most anything, a good plane lacking any engine.

And, you should, when you have a dream to fly, go get your license. It’s a very important experience, whether you’re on the floor or in the air.

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