Take the time to fly right the first time.

Time to Fly

When Chris Douglas of DCD Marketing was earning his multi-engine flight license, he was taught a valuable lesson about time that applies directly to business. Don’t rush to over react to a situation. 

Time and again, reacting too quickly, without understanding the problem or what is causing the problem, only makes things worse.

Why? Because not only do you still have to fix the problem, but you now also have to take extra time to undo what you did in haste.

When Chris was learning, he made a decision in haste without thinking through all the options. Consequently, Chris’s flying instructor yanked off one of the engines…only long enough to react correctly. He told Chris “Wind the Clock”.

Putting on the Brakes

Also relevant is advice I received that is similar to what Chris learned from his flight instructor. Early in my career, a business mentor told me “Slow down”. Pretty simple advice yet it has huge implications. The point was don’t rush during any part of business. Frustrated? Get up, stretch your legs, breathe and come back to the task. Overwhelmed? As always, work will still be there tomorrow and it is not possible to add more hours to a day. Most of all, take the time you need and take a break when you need it. Slow down, focus and deal with things one at a time.

The great thing about both of these lessons of ‘Wind the Clock’ and ‘Slow Down’ was learning that when we rush, over-react or jump to conclusions we often do more harm than good. Even when in a situation where time is critical, we still have 10 seconds to think. If we all take a deep breath to think first, we are less likely to make an error by reflex reacting.

Due to technology tethering most of us to work 24/7 in a world that wants instant results, it is hard to remember to that we truly do have time to think decisions through before acting upon them. In most likelihood, unless one is an ER doctor, the chances that we have to make a split second decision without pausing for thought is actually pretty rare. We may “feel” the pressure to decide in an instant but much of that pressure is self-imposed.

Take time to slow down and see where you are going. Time is on your side.

A Smooth Landing

The expression ‘Wind the Clock” is an aviation rule.  In short, the rule means the first step in dealing with an emergency is to wind the clock, and only then pull out a checklist and get to work. To those of us not flying airplanes, this simply reinforces the idea of taking the time to identify the problem, verify a conclusion, then identify and verify the solution to the problem. A natural reaction many people have to an emergency is to do something now, even if it’s wrong. The right thing to do in the airplane you flew yesterday may not be the right thing in the airplane you’re flying today.

This is just as true for business as it is for flying. The more you know, the more informed decision you can make that will be correct the first time as long as you take the time to think it through first.  If there is one thing worse than fixing a problem, it is fixing an error caused by not thinking through the original problem causing twice as much time to rectify. Stay calm, slow down, wind the clock, breathe and think.

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