What does a jet fighter pilot have to say about leading teams from 30,000 feet? More than you’d think!
Ford Saeks recently sat down with aviation ace Captain Charlie Plumb for an unfiltered conversation on motivation, trust-building and learning from setbacks.
Though Captain Plumb’s combat experience was an extreme leadership laboratory, his principles translate directly to our day-to-day challenges. Need to get your squadron aligned and cruising smoothly? This episode has you covered for take-offs and smooth landings!
The Secrets to Building Trust and Learning from Failure:
- Lead by example – The best leaders set the tone by embodying the values and behaviors they want to see in their team. As Charlie discussed, the POW camp leaders showed courage under torture rather than betray their men.
- Communicate clearly – Make expectations explicit, then have team members restate to ensure mutual understanding. Follow up regularly to reaffirm goals. As Charlie said, “Accountability starts with communication.”
- Build trust – Do what you say you’ll do. Keep your word on deliverables, meetings, etc. Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Consistency builds trust over time.
- Value your people – Know your team members as individuals. Make them feel their work and existence matter. A little personal attention goes a long way.
- Learn from failures – Don’t hide mistakes; examine them openly for lessons. Reinforce that stumbles are normal; perseverance counts. Turn failures into assets by applying the knowledge.
While running a team is not equivalent to the POW camp, isolate the takeaways that do apply. Are you communicating expectations clearly? Building accountable relationships rooted in trust? Learning actively from failures? Lead by example, value your people intrinsically, and commit to growth. With consistent principles adapted to your context, you can motivate any team.
For more expert advice in business, sales, marketing, life, and everything in-between, tune in to future episodes of Fordify LIVE! every Wednesday at 11AM Central on your favorite social media platform, or you can listen to new episodes of The Business Growth Show Podcast every Thursday on the podcast network of your choice.
Meet Captain Charlie: Kansas farm kid turns Annapolis Grad, Navy fighter pilot, F-4 Phantom shot down over Viet Nam. Parachuted into enemy hands, captured, tortured and endured nearly 6 years in Communist prison camps. Returned to share his story of “Winning Through Adversity” to over 5,000 audiences around the world. His book, “IM NO HERO” is in its 34TH printing. He has appeared on “Larry King Live”, “Nightline”, FOX with Shannon Breem, MSNBC with Anderson Cooper, and several other network TV and radio programs. His 4th of July speech is in the congressional record. Awarded the “Top 10 speakers in America” by “Meetings Magazine”. Earned the prized National Speakers Association – Speaker Hall of Fame Award.
Find Captain Charlie Plumb Here: https://charlieplumb.com/