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.

Aviation Business - - CON­TENTS - Steve Ford is the au­thor of 20 West: A jour­ney through six decades of tur­bu­lent change within avi­a­tion

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!

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