I recently had the privilege of flying with Pete Combs who creates the Flight Plan Podcast series for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). As we cruised several thousand feet above the mountains in Northern Georgia, he conducted an airborne interview regarding my thoughts on a recent study about CEO’s who are also pilots. The study itself was very interesting, indicating that CEO’s who are pilots take more risks in business, and often times have more success because of their higher risk tolerance. While I agree with the premise of the conclusion, I think there may be one additional element that leads to this success. Sure, pilots inherently take more risks than others, but they also tend to be masters of risk management. This risk management begins with a thorough pre-flight, continues with completing checklists before the engine is even started, and is present during every single phase of the flight itself. There’s a constant thought process of, “what am I going to do if xyz occurs.” This thought process concerning risk management occurs in the very same manner with business operations I encounter daily. I’m apt to take calculated risks to grow my business, yet at the same time in the back of my mind I’ve got a plan B, plan C, and in many cases even a plan D for the worst case scenario. Therefore, I think that it’s more than just a higher risk tolerance that makes CEO’s who are pilots more successful, but rather a higher degree of risk management ability as well which is reinforced every time a CEO steps into the cockpit or the boardroom.
You can read a full article, Does Being a Pilot Make You a Better CEO? by clicking here. At the bottom of the article there’s the full audio portion of the interview. I’ve also included a link directly to the audio interview here for your convenience.