Your team does not have an autopilot button!

I am beginning to think that a lot business owners out there believe that their team have an autopilot button which they can set, forget and trust its going to them to a desired destination. Well unfortunately this just isn’t the case. I am currently learning how to fly a helicopter and for simplicity sake, I am going to liken flying a helicopter to helping your team fly.

At no given time in flying a helicopter can you really set and forget allowing the aircraft to work its magic and get you to your destination (alive!). A helicopter relies on 3 mechanics – pedals, collective/throttle and your cyclic.

The pedals in a helicopter are just like the ones you see in a car or an airplane and they are responsible for ensuring the chopper is stabilized throughout its flight. The pedals move the tail rotor (or blade) in a given direction ensuring that the whole aircraft doesn’t spin out of control.

So what are the pedals in your business to help ensure your team remain stabilised and on track without spiralling into chaos? I would think such things would be:
– Mapped accountability and responsibility for the business, each team and for individual team members
– Formalised core values, customer service standards, culture standards that everyone lives by to keep on track with the goals, vision and direction of the business
– Regular performance reviews with team members allowing you to tweak the direction, stability, responsibility and capability of team members

Collective & Throttle
The collective and throttle is a lever that when pulled up allows the helicopter to rise up off the ground and hover. If you move the throttle downwards, the helicopters goes down. This lever basically allows the helicopter the get off the ground and rise up into the air.

I think the collective and throttle of your business is the level of energy, motivation and discipline that the leadership team applies to both the business and the team. The level of energy increases or decreases the motivation of the team to work towards and achieve the uplift/drive of the business. Alternatively, as you increase or decrease the level of discipline, and remember discipline doesn’t have to be a bad thing, the level of lift/momentum/consistency in your business and team will be affected as well.

Finally, now that we have stability and uplift, we need the cyclic which is held at all times by the pilot of the chopper and controls whether the aircraft hovers at a standstill or moves forward. Now instructors will tell you that you almost have to nurse the cyclic whilst gently maneuvering it will small increments. If you hold the cyclic firmly you tense up really quickly, causing aches and pains and also jolting the chopper from standstill to forward to standstill.

So, I think we all know what this means when it comes to relating back to how we deal with your team. You can not sit there with your hands behind your head expecting your helicopter to go forward, just like you can’t sit there with your hands behind your head expecting your team to drive your business forward. Yes, they need to take ownership and responsibility to an extent for independently moving it forward, however they, just like the cyclic, need to be held and moved in the right direction continuously with your, the pilot’s guidance.

So don’t be fooled into thinking that you can set-and-forget or switch on the autopilot for your team. They need your guidance, stability, discipline and drive to move onwards and upwards.

Happy flying!


This is going to be a short and sweet post, but one I feel must be said. As bad as it is, I can’t help myself when sitting at a café or restaurant during the day; I tend to sometimes tune in to parts of the conversation of the table sitting next to me. Now, I swear I don’t do it on purpose, but it’s like my ears set off alarm bells when it hear certain words coming from other people’s mouths. Majority of the time, the people around me are by the sounds of it business owners or managers having their midday meeting over lunch, but the huge topic of conversation these days seems to be around a topic that I’m going to refer to as Generacism, generation racism. It’s crazy some of things that people are saying about the topic and it appears that it’s almost becoming a fad to tag yourself or someone as a “Gen something” and then dump all the sterotypes of that Gen on them.

So let me smash this little habit that is slowly sneaking into cafés near you, with some truths.

GenY’s – Yes, GenY’s can be young, fast and “crazy” but if you aren’t using that to your advantage in your business you are missing the point. Young, fast and crazy doesn’t mean out of control. There’s the old saying of “where’s the safest point of riding a motorbike, when it’s going faster!”… So throw on a helmet, jacket and maybe some training wheels on your “GenY’s” and give them a speeding fine if they look like they are going to harm the business or themselves.

Baby Boomers – Have you ever heard of the Tortoise and the Hare fairy tale? Well baby boomers have and they get it, live it and have success with it so deal with it. “Baby boomer’s” are willing to take up and take on the ways of the modern world in business like fancy cloud tech systems but you need to train and guide them keeping in mind the Tortoise & Hare principles. Patience is a virtue, persistence is the key and courage to stick by them at their pace until they “get it” is the success because even in a fast paced, ever changing world, they are the ones with the wisdom, experience and un-tapped value that you need. Nobody put’s baby b’s in the corner! J (Couldn’t resist)

For all the Gen’s in between and beyond, “GenX’s” “Geni’s” etc, keep doing what you are doing OR get louder as you seem to be staying out of the spotlight of Generacism …for now!

So when you are out having lunch next, don’t order the Generacism… it’s time for a new lunch time topic.