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!


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