The progress technology has made over the past century is truly incredible.
For example, let’s look at the modern day history of the airplane, which has become so common to seeing in the skies as it is to cars on the road each day.
Have you ever flown in a DC3? The DC3 was a two-engine airplane built by the Douglas Corporation. The aircraft was the mainstay of the allied forces during World War II. During the war, it was renamed the C-47 as it was configured to carry freight and transport the troops. Thousands of DC3s were built. Even though that was back in the 1940s, there are still many DC3 planes flying today. Of course over the years the DC3 planes have been updated including the avionics, well maintained airframes and the engines overhauled. Both before and after WWII, the DC3 made aviation history as it made commercial airplane travel possible and helped to create the success of many well-known airline companies. In fact, there is an Eastern Airlines DC3 on display in the Smithsonian. The DC3 was definitely built to last. It was followed by the DC8 then the Boeing 707 and 727.
The next generation of passenger aircraft belongs to the Boeing 747. With its initial flight in 1970 and for the next 40 years it commanded the skies of commercial aviation both passenger and cargo flights with its now famous wide body, sleek design. Pilots, just as with the DC3, love to fly the 747.
What’s fascinating about the Boeing 747 is how it was built. Back in those days, designers and engineers didn’t have the luxury of computers or software. The airplane was built by slide rules. A bunch of engineers sat in a room working with precision slide rules making sure everything fit together just so. The plane when manufactured went together perfectly and with its near flawless design delivered an incredible service record for many airlines.
So what do airplanes and your business have in common?
If you are a CEO, business owner, founder or entrepreneur, you need to run your business like one of these well engineered airplanes.
Here’s 3 strategies to run your business like a Boeing 747:
1. The Boeing 747 was built to last. Otherwise, the planes couldn’t fly for as long as they have; nor through all the weather conditions they’ve encountered. These planes have made it through many a storm.
• Same with your business:
— Build your business from the ground up to last.
— Manage your business to weather any storm – be it economic, personnel, industry trends, customer changes, etc.
2. The Boeing 747 and airplanes in general are built for safety. Yes, it is tragic when there is news of a major airliner crash but, overall, when you think of all the airplanes that have flown for decades, the safety record is amazing and the crash percentages extremely low.
• Same with your business: Run your business with safeguards built in. Planning is key. Right down to having a slide rule mentality just like the engineers who built the Boeing 747. You don’t want to ever say to yourself: The company made money today. It will make money this year. But next year… Not so certain it can turn a profit.
3. The Boeing 747 was built solid. That’s why this particular model of aircraft was so popular with airlines and passengers for so many years. The plane is built with many redundancies. There isn’t just one system built into the plane. There is a system on top of another system on top of another system so if something would go wrong at any time during its flight path, even when the plane is at an altitude of 32,000 feet going 550 MPH there is a system in place, theoretically, to override any malfunctions till the plane can land safely.
• Same with your business: A long term, successful business has redundancies built into it so that the company can continue to function, operate and service customers with little inconvenience or interruption. It’s important at every level of your business to have redundancy with personnel, machines, production, policies, etc. So when something does go wrong it’s more of a quick blip rather than a monumental event that heavily impacts your company. That’s why you have more than one person who understands a particular job or why you use a CRM tool such as Nimble. Cross train your employees. People leave, they get sick and they go on vacation. But your business cannot stop. Not even for one moment.
You need to have a business that is truly a business. Running a business is more than just a job. It’s like flying a Boeing 747 or any other famous aircraft. You are in the pilot’s seat. You are responsible for many other people that come along for the ride either as employees, vendors or customers. Your success is dependent on you being a leader, both in the good times and bad times when split second decisions need to be made but you’ve prepared yourself so well for the moment that it’s just another successful business day.
To your success!
Header image courtesy of Flickr user Aero Icarus. (CC BY-SA 2.0)