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
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.