Leaders are a lot like test pilots.
At least that’s what former test pilot Danny Cox says. Like test pilots, leaders stay levelheaded in the face of a crisis. Instead of panicking, they grasp facts quickly and make order out of chaos.
Cox knows what chaos is; he’s flown a supersonic jet fighter alone at 60,000 feet and 1,200 miles per hour, upside down … on fire. He’s done it more than once.
“There I was,” he says, “with every red light on the control panel flashing in my face. At least I think they were flashing in my face. There was too much smoke in the cockpit to really tell.”
Cox calmed himself by remembering that the nation was depending on him, then reached to solve the problem with one hand while hitting the microphone and calling “Mayday!” with the other.
Like test pilots, leaders fix problems instead of fretting over them. They act without being told to because they understand that problems aren’t stopping places; they are decision points.
— Adapted from When The Heat’s On, Danny Cox with John Hoover, McGraw-Hill.
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