Pilots learning to fly are taught a set of priorities: Aviate, Navigate and Communicate. These common sense priorities are just as applicable to any organisation as they are to the cockpit of an aeroplane.
The first priority is Aviate:
- Ensure you remain in the air, at all costs, until you can safely land,
- Keep a continuous lookout,
- Be aware of changes in your environment,
- Regularly monitor the performance of your aircraft,
- Check your attitude – is the nose pointing up or down?
- Are you straight and level?
- Are you maintaining the correct height?, and
- Are your instruments working correctly?
So how is your organisation flying? What’s your height and attitude? When did you last monitor your instruments and verify them?
The second priority is Navigate:
- Where are you?
- Where is your destination?
- What is the best way to get there having regard for the terrain, the weather and the risks?
- Do you have sufficient fuel, plus a margin for safety?
- Have you selected a suitable and safe alternative destination if you are prevented from reaching your original destination?
- Do you reliably know where you are?
- What other traffic is in the area, and do you need to alter course to avoid a collision?
- Are your on track?, and
- If not, how do you get back on track?
How well is your organisation navigating? Did you prepare a pre-flight plan? Are you on track with the plan? Will you arrive safely at your destination?
The third and final priority is Communicate:
Pilots are coached to ensure that the first two priorities are well under control before picking up the microphone – the exception to this being emergencies.
- Select the right channel,
- Speak clearly and concisely,
- Don’t speak over others,
- Provide all appropriate information,
- Confirm your message has been received and understood,
- Listen for further instructions, information and feedback, and
- Don’t fill the airwaves with distracting and unnecessary chatter.
How well does your organisation communicate? Are they dealing with the first two priorities before picking up the microphone?
Apply these three priorities against your organisation and see how well you are performing.
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