The idea for pre-flight checklists was first introduced by management and engineers at Boeing Corporation in 1935, following a fatal crash of the prototype Boeing B-17 Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Both pilots in the aircraft were killed, and after an investigation it was discovered that the pilots had forgotten to disengage the gust locks, devices which stop control surfaces moving in the wind while the plane is parked, prior to take-off.
After this Boeing decided to have a set list of actions to be undertaken pre-flight, so that such a thing could never happen again. And so the pre-flight checklist was born. Eventually it was adopted throughout the aviation world. Pre-flight checks are now carried out by all pilots, whatever the size of aircraft. They provide the certainty needed to ensure a safe journey for the crew and passengers.
Now let’s turn our attention to your business. To what extent do you have the necessary checks and balances in place to ensure that all components of your company are running smoothly? The checks may not mean the difference between life or death, as with an airliner, but they can mean the difference between success and failure.
The last place to find out something is amiss is mid journey. If you constantly check all areas of your business – Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance and Talent, then you can avoid any nasty surprises. Unfortunately, many businesses only focus on the areas they’re best at, ignoring areas of weakness. But for a company to succeed it’s essential that all areas of your operation are running smoothly.
It’s also not a great idea to do your check list from memory. It needs to be a list that you and your senior team can refer to and amend when necessary. Also, if you ever have to hand over the reins of your business, it’s no good if the checks only exist in your head. Having good practices in place, will pay dividends in the future.
One quick way to check your current strategy is to take the BGI Certainty Scorecard. It only takes a few minutes, but it will show you how your strategy stacks up, and what measures you can take to deal with any problems that may arise. To take the Certainty Scorecard click here.
What sort of measures should you have in place? Like a pilot, you can break these down into external and internal checks. For external checks you can ask – how does your business look from the outside? Are your communications and messages clear and on-strategy? Is your website fit for purpose? What do your customers and stakeholders currently think of you? What do you look like to investors?
And then there are the internal checks. Are all areas of your operation running smoothly? What plans do you have if things go wrong? Are your employees aligned with your strategy? Are your supply lines secure and robust? Are your teams communicating with each properly?
Having a pre-flight check is essential for pilots. Having a system in place to check your business strategy is vital for any business owner.