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Success on the Fly

Posted: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Chris Waugh


The idea of ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ has such a bad rap! People think it’s flippant to just show up and ‘wing it.’ They want to plan it all out, and then prepare for their plan. But that’s not good enough.

These days, things change so rapidly that you can’t plan for every contingency. So, you have to prepare for a much wider range of possibilities than your plan calls for. This is what a hang glider pilot does.

When you fly a glider, you have to be prepared for anything. You may intend to fly down to Farmer John’s field and land. More often than not, though, you encounter wind conditions that change your plan mid-flight. It might be incredible lift that promises to take you on a cross-country excursion. Or, it might be sink air that makes your original landing destination out of reach.

Your preparation and training has to enable you to handle any circumstance. When you are prepared for anything, you are free to determine the opportunities and take advantage of them, like I do when I core a thermal.

Like a pilot, you don’t have time to stop and think when you’re on the fly. You have to be skilled and prepared for contingencies as well as your plans. If you stay current on the basic skills you need, you’ll be more able to handle the changes life throws your way.

Preparation is ongoing work! Keep yourself current on these basics and you’ll be ready for anything:

• Are your communication skills honed to a level you need at work and at home?

• Can you negotiate and persuade effectively when necessary?

• Will conflicts derail you, or can you argue constructively and respectfully?

• Do you understand basic personality preferences so you can take advantage of their differences?

• Is your creativity, and that of your team, developed to the level you need?

• Does a service mentality enhance your relationships with those around you?

• Preparation has to be continual – you’re never really finished. In the field of flying, pilots call it staying current on the basics.

Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who "lends wings to your success." Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.

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