Team with Thumbs Up

As you resume more normal business operations, you will be retuning to the all-important job of selecting the best teams.   This is important for one simple reason:  The best teams produce the best results.

Will  you select the right people for the right jobs for the right reasons?  Fair questions, but they are seldom answered correctly.

TOPGUN evaluates 45 to 50 professionally qualified, excellent Naval Aviators from jet fighter squadrons each year for three or four Staff positions.  Here are the three key questions we ask every potential staff member.  These are the same questions team leaders looking to build high performance teams should ask their team candidates.

  •   The first question:  Can I trust you with my professional life?   To highlight the importance of trust, please consider the following:   The Wall Street Journal took a survey several years ago and asked approximately 1,200 mid-level executives at the Fortune 500 Companies if they trusted senior management?  What percentage do you think said “No”?  Surprisingly, seventy- five percent.  With such low trust, how can an organization function effectively while addressing today’s diverse challenges?  The short answer is they can’t.  
  • The second question:  Can we count on you to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason, no matter what?  This is not a one time or a time-to-time deal.  This is a 100% commitment to doing the right thing with no excuses allowed.
  • The final question:  Are you willing to live by and be judged by a higher set of standards than everyone else?   How committed is a potential TOPGUN Staff member to excellence in all aspects of their work.  We evaluate candidate answers within the context of their past performance.  It has been said that what a person does speaks so loudly, we cannot hear a word that person says.  

The pool of 45 – 50 fighter aircrews is now reduced to 10 – 12 well-qualified candidates.  From this group, those with the best people skills get selected. This has proven to be a particularly effective approach.  It has allowed TOPGUN over the past fifty years to  remain the number one jet fighter aircrew training squadron in the world.

A further review of the above questions always points toward another key point to consider.  Of those three questions, which is the most important?   That would be trust.  Every relationship, whether professional or personal starts with trust.  It is the must-have cornerstone on which all productive relationships begin.

One last thought on those three questions:  What are they they addressing?  The answer is:  integrity.  As has been said many times about integrity, with it, nothing else matters, without it, nothing else matters.

If integrity is so important, how do you develop and strengthen it in yourself and others?   A tough question which will be considered in a future blog.

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Bill Driscoll

Bill Driscoll

Twenty-four years as a Keynote Speaker to Fortune 500 Companies and Trade Associations

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Navy Ace and former TOPGUN instructor Bill Driscoll demonstrates how his own life-or-death aerial dogfights – and the preparation for them – can help guide high-risk corporate decisions.