Today, leadership is taking on a new meaning. Not only are there many changes happening around the globe and in the business environment, but there are changes occurring in our aerospace industry and more specifically in the Business & General Aviation industry. Some of the changes are obvious: technology around us and in the aircraft, global business dynamics, the shortage of qualified pilots and technicians, social dynamics and demographics, just to name a few. But, there are more subtle changes as well: the culture of business aviation is changing; our PAX and their expectations are changing; the C-Suite and the way a flight operation is viewed are changing; the value proposition for business and private aircraft is shifting.
One change that is worthy of examining is the impact of technology. We have never experienced technology change as we are today. Changes in technology are profound with many tentacles growing fast and furious into our daily lives. These changes impact us from numerous directions and ways. The changes today are incredibly dynamic and with speed we have not previously experienced. The majority of the technological changes are now impacting our human senses and how we view social aspects, as well as how we view job performance and work. These elements of technology have never been so far reaching. The issues of human factors are even more complex and dynamic. This is an element that needs and requires leadership to guide their teams and organizations through the many challenges and opportunities that advanced, improved and fast-moving technology present to us.
Who’s leading and managing all of this? Are we developing our industry’s leaders to address these fundamental fast-moving changes? Today’s leadership requirements are vastly different from that of even five years ago. If we go back, 10 to 15 years ago, we are looking at incredible transitional and transformational changes in our industry. Some we welcome, some we don’t. However, as leaders, we have to address all issues, regardless of what we like or what don’t like. All of this, necessitates changes in how we LEAD.
One example that continually rises to the surface is, people issues. People on our teams and people who we serve. Traditionally, we have assumed people issues to be addressed by our technical proficiency and know-how. However, one of the changes that we are dealing with is the fact that more and more of us take technology for granted. We view it as a basic requirement. Less and less people celebrate a good take off, a good smooth flight and a good landing. These are basic expectation!! But if someone ignored me or was grumpy or in a bad mood or seatbelt buckle was smudged, then the aircraft user will have issues. They are completely irrelevant to flying as we knew it. The complexity of aircraft operations seem to have shifted to complexity of people issues. People management is becoming more and more a part of a leaders’ job, today. People issues can morph into many unpleasant and unnecessary difficulties. In an age when we have a tough time finding qualified people to hire. Yes, we need to find ways to attract and find the type of skilled individuals who are going to help us. But we also need to lead engagement and development of a culture which helps to keep people (our teams) engaged and vibrant. We need this to help navigate the advent of technology and people issues. The good news is, we have answers and options…… The bad news is, that it takes time and it challenges our conventional thinking about leadership. First step let’s agree that we are in need of change in the way we go forward and we need help.
So what are we doing to develop the future leaders. Start with the fact that we need leadership more than ever. There are way too many unknown paths in front of us.