Original post written by Shuktika Maheshwari
The Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors Retreat 2015, held on June 09, witnessed mind-boggling discussions on several contemporary issues involving the business world. The business leaders and the Chamber staff present there had the opportunity to listen to Captain George Dom, former naval officer and aviator on the foundations of Blue Angel Leadership.
Captain Dom’s long career as a fighter pilot and instructor in the United States Navy imparted him some valuable lessons, which he shared with his audience. In his talk Captain Dom recognized the similarities between military and businesses. Both face complex and unpredictable challenges, high pressure work, keen competition, distractions, high stakes with big risks, and large egos with questioning minds. Both also require creativity, collaboration and allow for low margins of error. In either case, making things happen requires pushing the limits of human capability, which is possible only with an uncompromising core value of high trust and commitment. This commitment and trustworthiness has to be grown and groomed.
Captain Dom defined a successful leader to be one who has a vision and the ability to communicate it, unwillingness to accept the status quo and the ability to influence others to join him in his endeavors. His own successful leadership of the Blue Angels was built on high trust, and his teammates entrusted their lives in his hands every day. Captain Dom enlists the following qualities and questions to evaluate those qualities that help achieve that level of trust:
- Character: Do you walk your talk? Do you live up to the values of your team and organization?
- Commitment: Will you be with the team when the going gets rough? Are you playing to win? Why is working with you beneficial for the people?
- Competence: Are you good enough to lead the team? Are you better than yesterday, but not as good as you will be tomorrow? Competence also comes from practice, which ensures consistency. It involves feedback and constructive criticism, and the ability to try new things.
- Connection: Does your team believe you understand them?
- Communication: Both verbal and non-verbal communication is important. Are you clear and concise? Was your message received?
These 5 C’s can reinforce one another and create an upward spiral of trust and confidence. In Captain Dom’s career, success was dependent on the team’s trust in him and each other. While modern business does not normally involve risking the lives of teammates, it does entail cohesion in teams and strong leaderships. Captain Dom goes by the adage “If you want to go fast, get along, if you want to go far, go as a team.”
About Captain George – Former Blue Angel Flight Leader & Speaker on Leadership, Teamwork and Trust
George Dom is a former naval officer and aviator with a career that included key leadership positions in high performance organizations, including four aircraft carrier fighter squadrons and commander of the air wing of the USS John F. Kennedy. He was an instructor/ pilot at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Topgun) and commanding officer/ flight leader of the Blue Angels. After leaving active duty, Dom became a business aviation consultant to Fortune 500 corporations, private companies and high net-worth individuals.