Expert Steve Ford on using training to ride the coronavirus wave
Steve Ford, pilot, author and industry commentator, draws on his own experience in industry downturns to offer execs advice on the importance of resistance training during the current crisis.
At the age of 30 my CV looked like an airline directory. The volatility and the very nature of aviation meant that as fast as I joined an employer, they folded. I was starting to take it personally and while completing my last sector with one operator, I shared my woes and tribulations with the captain who laughed and said this was his twelfth employer to have folded underneath him. He surmised that changing jobs in aviation was like changing deckchairs on the Titanic. As individuals and as pilots/engineers, we have no direct control over our employer’s state of health. So having come out the other end of my aviation career with a big grin on my face and very happy to have taken part, what is the secret? The answer is simple – you!
You are the only one that can navigate your business through the storms and it requires resilience and determination, underwritten with competence. It can be overwhelming at the moment to see the current state of play, not only locally with the collapse of airlines, but the significant global impact on the travel industry as the coronavirus escalates unchecked.
I do not for an instant intend to play down the severity of Covid-19 and it is arguably the gravest threat to society in a lifetime. But threats in one form or another have always been there. If you want to have a reality check, speak to others within the industry, fellow professionals and mentors, for they too can share tales of woe and redundancy.
For we have lived through oil crises, conflict in various regions of the world, 9/11, the SARS virus and sometimes sheer bad luck. So how do you equip yourself for this commercially dangerous world within which we reside?
First and foremost, without any shadow of a doubt it is attitude, your attitude. Remaining focused and searching out every opportunity is paramount. The second is simply just striving to be the best at what you do. The third is to do with your well-being and never losing faith in your own abilities. Hope is eternal and with a glass half-full you can concentrate on what you have and not waste time and energy on what has been lost. Stay positive. In other words, it is leadership.
The world of aviation, by its very nature, is resilient and always bounces back. After all, aviation is the most practical and efficient transport system we have to move both people and freight. The trick is to stay in the game.
This is where resilience training comes in. Early in my own career I spent three years in a trailer flying Cessna 182s and Beechcraft Barons in order to stay in the game during a recession. I was determined to succeed. It paid off and at the beginning of the next upswing. I rode the wave into the right-hand seat of a Citation and then a Boeing 737.
The same is true of businesses.
Those that adapt quickly to change and look at the long term recovery will ride the next wave. It is one hell of a ride, I accept that, but that is after all, aviation!