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Flying By the Seat of Your Pants Can Hurt! Leadership Lessons from the Cockpit

Written by Randy Taussig on June 18, 2015

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Flying by the seat of your pants with no procedure or systemWhen I first learned to fly, it was always in great conditions. Clear and sunny skies, no turbulence and very little traffic, with my instructor handling all radio communications. This helped me gain confidence, learn to trust my instincts and develop a real feel for piloting the aircraft. I was perfectly comfortable “flying by the seat of my pants” without a system or procedure.

Eventually, I utilized flying for business. I would go on longer trips, in various weather conditions, with more traffic and frequent demands from ATC. My flying became more complex.

When Instincts Aren’t Enough

Casual flying was no longer an option. I needed to follow more reliable systems and procedures to ensure the safety and success of my flights. My instincts alone were not adequate to operate within these more complex conditions.

For instance, did you know that spatial disorientation could happen instantly when entering a cloud or low visibility conditions (with no visual references outside the cockpit) if the pilot is not capable of flying solely by instruments? Unfortunately, this was the determined cause of the 1999 fatal accident involving John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and sister-in-law.

This is just one example of how it can be difficult to manage all the moving parts when things get complicated. If you don’t hold weekly meetings with your top leaders to monitor the health of the business, solve problems and hold each other accountable, you’re probably flying by the seat of your pants!

Stay On Track and Land Safely Every Time

Every business is unique in its needs and challenges, so find the best systems that will help you run YOUR business as if you were navigating very complex and dangerous situations. The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) can help. Consider Rocks, scorecards and L10 meetings as powerful tools to keep you on track — especially when working within the complexities of a growing and thriving business.

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