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Let Your Copilots Fly

May 10, 2021

A copilot who is under the tutelage of an accomplished captain is learning to make decisions. Making the right decisions increases his judgment capabilities and ultimately contributes to any flight's safe and efficient operation.

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How to Treat Your Flight Crew

May 3, 2021

My daughter recently got recruited away from her old company for a much more attractive opportunity. Pay and benefits were, expectedly, much better, but two other factors were equally important in her decision to leave. She had quickly risen to run the design department, and there was no one in her area of expertise that she could learn from. She wanted to acquire more excellent skills and continue to grow but had topped out in that environment.

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Perspective and Perceptions

April 26, 2021

I was catching up with an old friend recently, and I could tell that he wasn’t as enthusiastic as he usually is. I mentioned that he sounded a bit down in the dumps, and he shrugged it off. I didn’t want to press the issue and be invasive, so I let it go and changed the subject. I thought if he wanted to talk about it, he would, in his own time. Sure enough, he soon began to open up. He had an issue at work with his boss that he needed to resolve, and it weighed on him. As he shared the circumstances, it was clear that it wasn’t a significant issue and could be solved, but it was something that he would rather not have to deal with.

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Excellence in Handling a Mistake

April 19, 2021

Most of us are familiar with these old saying, “Nobody is perfect,” and “We all make mistakes.” The expressions usually go hand in hand and convey that, no matter how hard we try, as humans, we can never get everything right all the time. The question then becomes how you’ll handle the situation when it inevitably arises.

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Just Get Started

April 12, 2021

I have to share something personal with you. I’ve been procrastinating in sitting down and writing this blog all day. In fact, I’ve been in a blasé mood since I got up this morning. Part of the reason is that it’s raining out, and I tend to be a ‘sunshine’ person. I had planned to go to the driving range and hit a bucket of golf balls today, but that’s not happening now.

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The Simplicity of Excellence in Setting Yourself Apart

April 5, 2021

I believe we unnecessarily complicate excellence, particularly in business. I'm doing some work for a client, and I've just finished reading articles on Setting Yourself Apart in several business publications, including Forbes and Entrepreneur. The pieces are generally well written and offer decent advice, yet not one offered a straightforward approach that has consistently worked for me. Begin by asking yourself the following question, "What would I, as the average Joe (or Josephine), want?" That is a commonsense approach to providing a service or solving a problem, but it often seems that commonsense is not a common virtue. It is an approach that has generated $millions and other successes in my ventures.

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The Profit of Belief

March 29, 2021

The power of belief has been a fundamental part of our existence from time immemorial. It has been discussed, written about, and experienced for eons. Whether it’s belief in a higher religious being and the power of prayer or a belief in the power of positive thinking for self-improvement, belief is a remarkable concept that has affected and guided billions of people at some level throughout the ages. It is ironic, then, that many of us can have such a strong belief in external things we can’t control but lack belief in ourselves.

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How FEAR Held Me Back

March 22, 2021

I’ve seen a lot of clever acronyms for FEAR, so I had to come up with one of my own: Failure of Excellence, Achievement, and Rewards. Ok, I’ll admit this is a bit of a stretch, but by Failing to strive for Excellence, you’ll also fail to Achieve and miss out on the accompanying Rewards. The reality is the crippling power of FEAR can paralyze us and prevent us from taking action necessary to achieve our goals.

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Life is a Mindset Game

March 15, 2021

It was almost two o’clock, and as I sat at my desk, the familiar fear began to grip me. The sweat was starting to drip under my arms, and I was glad that I had worn a sweater so no one would notice. I hoped again—as I had for the past three days—that they wouldn’t be there waiting, and I could just make it to my next class safe and sound.I was a freshman at Orangeburg High, and the tension of having several African American kids at what had been a segregated school in South Carolina was still very high. To lessen the opportunities for conflict, I had developed a routine for getting around the campus as inconspicuously as a black kid in an all-white environment could. 

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Key Qualities of a Great Mentor

March 8, 2021

A friend recently asked me to become a mentor to a board of an organization I am a member of. That precipitated a thought-provoking conversation that spurred me to address the makings of a good mentor. I am enclosing an excerpt from my recent book, The Flight To Excellence, which addresses mentorship qualities.

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Navigating Through the Turbulence

October 5, 2020

Covid-19 continues to be an unprecedented storm causing disruption, and immeasurable turbulence in all our lives. It has stricken family and friends, affected our jobs and careers, and socially isolated us in unparalleled ways. And while these are clearly extraordinary times, the truth is that we all must fly through turbulence at various times in our lives.

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Striving for Excellence

October 12, 2020

Many of us are familiar with the phrase “Striving for excellence.” We have probably been encouraged to do so by our parents or teachers in the past. It is easy to say but hard to put into practice. At least that is the conclusion that I have come to.

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How Excellence Pays

October 19, 2020

Delta Airlines, the company I flew for, intentionally and consistently worked to create and maintain a culture of excellence in every aspect of its operations. I saw it up close, was proud to be a part of it, and gained from the fruits of that continuous effort. Customers, employees, and shareholders have all benefited from the company's focus on excellence, and the results speak for themselves.

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Excellence is Taught and Learned

October 26, 2020

How do you build a culture of excellence in a company or an organization? How do you instill a commitment to excellence in an individual’s life? There are different methods, and some are better than others. Some can be much more impactful in a significant way.

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Does Excellence Equal Perfection?

November 2, 2020

A cadet at the Air Force Academy once asked me, "Sir, if you performed a task perfectly, would you have performed it with excellence?" My response, "Maybe, maybe not. Perfection may sometimes equal excellence, but excellence does not always equal perfection." We went on to have a thought-provoking conversation.

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A Culture of Excellence

November 11, 2020

Have you ever seen the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the "Thunderbirds?" Their ultra-close precision flying and daring close maneuvers have awed and thrilled millions across the country and worldwide.

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Excellence In Disguise

November 16, 2020

When I was a new freshman cadet at the Air Force Academy, we had to carry a small book called Contrails with us at all times. It was a book of knowledge on the Air Force and the Academy and was packed with a bevy of miscellaneous things. Most of the material was in regular type, and we were required to know that information intimately so we could discuss it thoroughly when called upon by an upperclassman.

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The 'How' of Excellence

November 23, 2020

Many of us have parents or other trusted advisors who gave us advice when we were young to help us in our flight through life. It was because they were 'wise and all-knowing,' though I suspect it was more often, to keep us from making the same mistakes they had already made. My dad had his saying, and as time passed, I realized that his were a combination of being wise and his experience of having made mistakes.

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Integrity First

November 30, 2020

The first and most crucial element in building a culture of excellence is to develop the right principles. Your principles are critically important because they define your life. They determine the choices you make and the things you do. An essential principle is integrity.

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What a Culture of Excellence Looks Like

December 7, 2020

One of the responsibilities of a leader is to create a culture of excellence in the organization she leads. While the components to create that culture may differ, based on the type of organization and personal leadership style, there are some universal qualities most people would agree,

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Who Are Your Wingmen?

December 12, 2020

When I was a young boy, I was free to roam the neighborhood-just like all the other kids on my block. We played together as a group almost every day, and our families knew each other intimately. It was a close-knit community where we went from home to home as if each was our own.

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Your Flight Plan For Excellence

December 21, 2020

Have you ever been asked, “Where are you going in your life?” I would guess that most people have not. That question is generally asked by parents, usually a mom, when an adult child seems to be off track. You’ll see it queried on a TV show, or maybe you have a friend who has a wayward kid and shares some information in confidence. It’s a question that shouldn’t just have a negative connotation and one that we all should periodically ask ourselves, either to define a destination or to confirm that we are still on course with a goal previously set.

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Flying Through Adversity

December 28, 2020

We were in solid weather over the Sierra Mountains, with my student pilot practicing instrument maneuvers. The cloud cover extended from 500 feet above the ground to well above our operating altitude. Things were uneventful until they weren’t.

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The Third P in the P4 System: Flight Plan

January 04, 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and made it through safely. Hooray for 2021!

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The Flight to Excellence: Soaring to New Heights in Business and Life

January 11, 2021

The day that we have been waiting for has finally arrived. The official release date of my new book, The Flight to Excellence, Soaring to New Heights in Business and Life, is here. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major book outlets.

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Turbulence on the Home Front and Dr. King

January 18, 2021

Today the country celebrates what would have been the 92nd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A towering figure in the nation's history, he led a movement that fundamentally changed the America that we live in today.

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Aligning Your Principles

March 1, 2021

If you have been following this offering for the past several months, you know that I have a new book out entitled The Flight to Excellence: Soaring to New Heights In Business and Life, which you can order from Amazon by clicking the link at the bottom of this letter. The book describes the P4 System, which I and others have used to navigate through the turbulence of life to get to some fantastic places.

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Keeping the Ego in Check

February 22, 2021

I have a good friend who has been a wise mentor over the years and has helped open doors for me. Some years ago, he called to tell me that he had recommended me to be on the board of directors of a financial institution based in Boston, MA. He had given the CEO a few names but had listed me as his number one choice and to expect a call from the CEO soon.

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The Power of Belief

February 15, 2021

It has been said that the best way to determine your future is to create it, and the power of your belief is what is required to make that happen. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect someone else to believe in you?

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Why Determination Leads to Excellence

January 26, 2021

I had just opened my third Subway store and was scouting out a new location. In my comings and goings as a Delta pilot, I believed that Logan Airport in Boston would be a great location. I made an appointment with the airport officials to discuss the process of leasing commercial space for my Subway venture.

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