about the book
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! was born out of success and failure In my aviation and management careers. My aviation experiences were realized in the dirty cockpits of old single engine piston planes and in the plush leather comfort of corporate jets. My management experiences came from the factory floor of companies struggling to meet payroll, on management teams of a Fortune 500 company and in the boardrooms of other successful companies. All were necessary to understand the importance of disciplined performance monitoring while managing a flight or a company.
Piston or jet, factory floor or boardroom, the methods and discipline of “Cockpit Management” provide instruments and tools necessary to be an effective and efficient manager.
My first flight lesson was a disappointment. I had anticipated walking onto the ramp of the airport, kicking the tires, lighting the fires, and launching for a flight with me in the pilot’s seat. The reality was much different. I spent the first two hours standing on the tarmac with the instructor as he taught me about every physical characteristic of the plane from the nose cone to the trim surfaces on the tail. The two hours following were spent in a classroom talking about the weather, the local terrain, performance characteristics of the plane we had walked around, and my motivation for becoming a pilot. I never even sat in the cockpit. While the lesson was disappointing at the time, it turns out there is a lot to know before you are qualified to grab the yoke and push the throttle forward. The same goes for the process of management ...
You aspire to be a manager in service to others. That is great. However, much like in my disappointing first flight lesson when instructed to perform a walk-around of the plane, I’m going to instruct you to do a “walk-around” of yourselves before we take flight as managers. The inspection will focus on three critical structural components of management:
Loss of Ego
Ability to Trust
These topics are elements, not instruments. We are not flying yet. They are structural elements no different than the engine, the wings, the tires, and the fuel tank that determine the airworthiness of the plane. They will seem basic. You may even say, “I’m good with those,” and attempt to read the chapters beyond.
Don’t do it ...
Now that ground school is complete, we are ready to step into segment of training I call “Cockpit Management.” Ground school provided us with the necessary foundation as we lost our egos, got organized, and began to trust. it is time to train ourselves for instrument flight, where we will define the information we deem critical to management.
Mission & Strategy
We will build instruments capable of producing and monitoring that information and will trust those instruments with our organizational lives.