Editor's Notes: Waldo Waldman, my guest author today, adds something unique to the fields of performance improvement, training and coaching: his own training and experience as a fighter pilot. Not only does he contribute stories that are interesting examples of the points he is making, but also he includes enlightening thoughts on the value of military practices to business. Discipline, teamwork, leadership skills and the ability to build trust among team members are all part of what makes a business work.
Those skills are not taught in BBA and MBA programs. They're not taught in high school. Employees, managers and executives sometimes come by them naturally, from experience and temperament. Teamwork and leadership skills are most often part of training programs. Discipline and trust building are seldom taught in any other forum except the military. Waldman's background and experience evidently developed all those desirable skills in abundance. And if his newsletter articles are any indication, he knows how to teach them. After you read his article, visit his website and read his newsletter archives. It is an education in itself. If you are in management, training or HR, I think you'll find him a useful resource.
LIFT VS. DRAG - A Business Leader's Perspective
So, how do you get a 35,000-pound F-16 jet fighter to fly?
By Waldo Waldman
It's no easy feat. To overcome the force of gravity, you have to create a force greater than gravity's grasp. That force is lift.
As the F-16 blasts through the sky, there is an "enemy" of lift that must be overcome. It's an aerodynamic force which resists the forward motion of the jet (known as drag.)
There are two kinds of drag - induced and parasite. Induced drag is a "good drag." It is a byproduct of lift and is necessary for flight. Parasite drag is not helpful because it battles against the "good" drag, working to slow the aircraft down. It's caused by the non-lifting portions of the aircraft, such as the landing gear, missiles, and external fuel tanks.
Here's the big picture. In order to fly, a jet's lift must exceed drag. The less drag, the easier the plane flies.
Let's look at this on a practical level in fighter combat. When evading missiles or engaging another fighter in close combat, one of the first things you must do is what pilots call "jettison your stores." You have to get rid of all the parasite drag hanging from the jet that's not critical to immediate, fast flight. Fuel tanks and bombs, for example, must go. This reduces your weight while simultaneously reducing drag, allowing the fighter to be much more maneuverable to avoid getting shot down.
Simply put, if you don't need it, you drop it.
What "parasites" do you have dragging you down and stopping you from reaching new heights in your life?
Parasites are the negative relationships that sap you of your energy and time while giving nothing in return. Parasites are also the fears, doubts, mental baggage, dramas, and self-limiting beliefs that strangle your ability to take action. They suck the life out of you. They can drag you down emotionally and hold you back from being a successful leader.
Do you have any of that hanging around?
We all have parasite drag in our lives. We're just not aware that we have it or we put off doing anything about it until our own personal "missiles" begin to fly. If we're dragged down too much, the missiles will hit us.
What are you holding on to that you really need to let go of? Here's my advice. Jettison your parasites now!
Wingmen are the opposite of parasites. They are the relationships in your life who lift you to new heights. "Wingnuts" are parasites that drag you down.
Are you willing to jettison what's dragging you down so you can become more fulfilled and successful? Perhaps it's an unhealthy relationship, laziness, or a private addiction such as TV, gambling, or a sugar fix. Or maybe a bad job is bringing you down or a fear of failure is stopping you from starting a new business.
Want to find what gives lift in your life? Look at what drives your passion. Look at the relationships and activities that get you excited and energized and ready to "push it up" in life. Then, pursue them relentlessly. Seek what gives you life.
When flight planning for success, winners have an ability to get rid of distractions and focus on action that leads to positive results. They also surround themselves with people who challenge them. Jim Rohn, one of my favorite philosophers, has a saying that I love, "Don't spend major time with minor people." If you want to be a success, spend time with people at work and in your private life who lift you up. Folks who have the courage and compassion to tell it like it is. These people won't settle for your excuses, but they will inspire you and give you hope.
The question remains: How do you attract these types of people into your life? You do it by giving your time, advice, and hope to those in need. In essence, you become a wingman to others and help them to fly to greater heights. You do the hard work to build your own character before expecting it of others. This is the core of leadership. When you do this, wingmen will naturally be attracted to you. They will feel comfortable coming to you for help and you will slowly but surely find yourself surrounded by people you trust. As I always say, never fly solo.
Leadership Wingtip - Leaders push themselves up, while pulling others up.
Discipline, hard work, and productive relationships are the lifts in life that overcome the parasite drags of unhealthy relationships, addictions and complacency. They are your tools to conquer mediocrity and live with courage. They will help you to win. Don't leave them from your flight plan.
If you want to reach new heights in business and in life, make sure you do whatever it takes to maximize your lift and minimize your drag. Not only will you avoid the missiles, but you'll hit your target as well!
Waldo Waldman builds team unity within organizations as a high energy leadership inspirational speaker. A former combat-decorated fighter pilot with corporate sales experience, Waldo brings an exciting and valuable message to organizations by using fighter pilot strategies as building blocks for peak performance, teamwork, leadership, and trust. He has worked with dozens of corporations such as Panasonic, UPS, Hilton, Aflac, Bank of America and Hewlett-Packard. To learn more about Waldo's seminars or to register for his peak performance newsletter," The Wingman," click here Motivational Keynote Speaker, visit http://www.yourwingman.com, or call him at 1-866-WALDO-16 (925-3616).