September 2017

As part of our #FreeChapterFriday Series, CATSHOT Group is releasing a new chapter of Building a Culture to Win: Expanding the Frontier of Human Achievement. This week, we're looking at Chapter 4: Aligning The Team Below you can find the chapter in full. Enjoy!  
  “All Together Now – “Up We Go...” It is November, and we’re waiting to take off on our final show of the season in sunny Pensacola, FL. As Boss, I have the privilege of sitting in the #1 spot – smack dab in the middle of four shining blue and gold F/A-18 fighter jets at the end of the runway. My team and I are lined up in fingertip formation, which looks like the fingertips of your right hand. The Boss (#1) is your middle finger. The right wingman (#2) is the ring finger. The left wingman (#3) is the index finger, and the slot pilot (#4) is the pinky finger. As Boss, my job is to lead the team through voice calls that serve as the drummer of a rock band, creating and keeping a tempo that we can all follow. This synchronicity will allow all three Diamond wingmen to fly extremely close as all four of us execute our stick-and-throttle movements together. As I am given clearance to take off, I start my cadence: “We're cleared for takeoff, the winds are calm, check your parking brake off, check your trim set. Maneuver is Diamond Burner Loop with a right turn out.” The team acknowledges my commands. I then command the engine run up, “Let's run 'em up.” I look over to my right and left to receive a visual thumbs-up from each of my wingmen. “Smoke on... off brakes now... burners ready now,” I say as we begin the show. A huge cloud of air show smoke billows behind the formation, as the 36,000 pounds of thrust per aircraft has our body weight pushing us firmly against our seats. All four jets accelerate down the runway in very tight formation. Within a few seconds, we have reached 150 knots, as we begin to lift off. I call out several command bursts “Gear,” “A little drive,” “Up we go... a little more pulllll.” My team is in sync with my tempo, understanding that timing is everything. They know to keep pulling on the control stick until the last “L” in “pullll” is sounded. I sense the #4 jet move into the slot position behind me.