Pilot Leadership's Colleen Hensley

Pilot Leadership - The Mission Pilot Leadership's Bill Hensley

Applying the principles of flying
supersonic jets to business and life.™


The Pilot—Learning Leadership (Greenleaf Book Group, February 2011)


  Excerpted from Chapter 14 - The Real Thing:

  “Tiger 96, this is Whiley Tower, you are now five miles from touchdown,

winds are still calm, and you’re cleared to land. Good luck, sir,” relayed the



“Gear down and cleared to land, Tiger 96,” Jack responded.


He knew a lot was riding on his ability to get this crippled jet on the

ground safely, not the least of which was the fate of Major Herrera. He

could feel his blood pumping throughout his body, yet he felt controlled

and confident that he was up to the task.


“Major Herrera, can you hear me?” Jack shouted over the intercom,

still hoping for any kind of response.



“Jack, you’re a bit high. Keep her coming down, but don’t develop a

high sink rate,” Neil said.


Jack was too focused to respond with anything more than a “Roger”

over the radio, but he heeded the advice and lowered the nose of the jet

ever so slightly, making certain he didn’t descend too rapidly toward the

runway. His mind chattered away. Jack, you’ve practiced countless Single-

Engine Landings while Chair Flying, in the simulator and in the jet . . .

but you never imagined doing one for real, with your IP unconscious . . . and

from the rear cockpit. . . . How do the IPs do it on a regular basis from back

here? . . . I can’t see a thing!?


“Jack, you’re still a little high. . . . Bring her down a bit.”


Jack heard and processed the call from Neil, yet now he was unable

to respond at all, as he needed to focus entirely on flying the jet onto the

runway and stopping it before he sped off the end. He reduced the power

slightly to continue the jet’s descent.


I can’t see a thing. . . . All of Jack’s available senses and instruments

indicated he was on course to touchdown on the asphalt, not the grass that

was on either side of the runway. He strained to see out the front of the

jet, but his helmet met the canopy before his eyes were able to get a good

look. He relied on his altimeter to indicate how many feet remained until

touchdown. Everything was happening so fast. He intermittently glanced

at the altitude pointer as it passed through 300 feet to touchdown, 200

feet to touchdown . . .


“JACK, WATCH THE . . .” Neil shouted.



Excerpted from Chapter 12 Debrief  - Introduction to Center Seat Leadership:


From Attainment to Refinement


Up until now, the Mastery of Performance–Mach One Followership–

Center Seat Leadership relationship can be said to resemble a vertical

line, with the objective being to attain the latter. Once Center Seat

Leadership is achieved, however, it is better to imagine this continuum

in the shape of a spiral, with every action and decision touching upon all

three elements when necessary. Center Seat Leaders’ quest for mastery

enables them continually to reach higher levels in all three areas—they

refine personal and professional abilities and skills every day, climbing

ever higher on the spiral.


Course Deviation Indicator


In the cockpits of the jets that we flew, we often relied on an

instrument called a Course Deviation Indicator, or CDI. Whenever we

were off course, our CDI would give us a visual indication that let us

know what corrections we needed to make to get back on course. We

have borrowed the term CDI from aviation, since it aptly describes three

crucial characteristics all Center Seat Leaders have in common and use to

keep their businesses on course:


Communicate the course

Drive accountability

Inspire versus intimidate


In a subsequent debrief, we will discuss each characteristic in detail.

For now, just know that these characteristics will become more apparent

as we dive into Center Seat Leadership.