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      High Definition Trust, Understanding and Camaraderie
            Reduce Struggle Resolve Conflict Improve Relationships Relieve Stress

In This Issue
USAir Flight 1549 and Presence
Data vs. Perception
Why Clarity.....
....and why now?

HDClarity is an e-zine for those wanting to develop more trust, understanding and camaraderie in their work environment, and their life in general.  A smoother running team is a more profitable team.  They get things done faster, for less cost.  If you'd like to discover methods for reducing struggle, resolving conflict, improving relationships, or just plain relieving stress, please read on. 
"You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present." 
                                                             Jan Glidewell

US Air Flight 1549 and presence.
When the USAir Flight 1549 suddenly lost power on the January 15th liftoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport, the cabin of the Airbus 320 became very similar to what I experience in a rally car racing on blind roads at 100+ miles per hour.
There are just two people responsible for the success or failure of the unfolding scenario.  If ever there was a situation where total trust, understanding and camaraderie were critical, this was it.

Flight 1549
(click on image to hear pilot/control tower dialogue)
We've all seen spectacular news coverage of airplane crashes.  Embedded in our memories are video clips of United Flight 232, the DC-10 that cartwheeled across the Sioux City Iowa airport in 1989, or news of the lone survivor of the Comair Commuter flight from Lexington KY to Atlanta in August of 2006.  And these images are burned into our brains obscuring the real data that such an accident causing fatalities occurs less than once in 16 million flights (you're safer in a commercial airplane than walking to school in your hometown).  Despite this overwhelming data to the contrary, many of us tend to predict dire consequences and fear for the worst.  It's human nature.  It's where FEAR comes from.
Let's look at this situation through the eyes of the people on the front line.  Captain Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles.  Quoting Sullenberger after the incident, "It was very quiet as we worked, my co-pilot and I. We were a team".
Sullenberger's history put him in a good spot to not only survive this ordeal, but succeed.  He is an Air Force Academy grad who had instructed gliders at the Colorado Springs institution with 19,000 ours of commercial experience (not to mention his classified hours in and F-4 during his service years from 1973 - 1980 when he began flying for USAirways). And as we've all heard, his training put him in excellent position to maximize this potentially terrorizing moment in aviation history.  But how would he have responded if all he could think about were the video clips of Sioux City style outcomes.


(click on Capt. Sullenberger's picture to see his incredible bio)

What we do with our histories can RULE what we do with our futures. That RULE can be either beneficial or detrimental. By over-emphasizing horrific past outcomes, we can easily project them irrationally into our future.  We all know "Chicken Little was right.  The sky IS falling" type people. It can paralyze us and keep us from realizing success at every turn.  Fear is the irrational projection of unsubstantiated negative outcomes based on inaccurate assessment of past data.  Likewise by absorbing accurate data and converting the results to rules that serve us well, we can operate spectacular lives and seem heroic, like Sully Sullenberger.
Whoa, Kim....that's a mouthful!
Well, let's look at it.  We got stung by a bee once when we were 4 years old.  Today at age XX we are terrified of bees, yet there are 75,000 bees in every colony!  (Sorry, I probably just forced some readers inside for the rest of their lives!). 
We got hung up on a couple of times when making  business telephone calls (a reference to the Catch & Release™ Prospecting E-zine), and irrationally project that failure repeatedly. This evolves into refraining from making calls for the sake of securing more business, and hence our future, and, well, can you see how it make it all come down like a house of cards?

The definition of a phobia is a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.

We don't think about these little impediments as phobias, but they can and do alter our ability to be and do everything we want.
Back to the cockpit of flight 1549.  Sullenberger and Skiles have no such phobias.  They know their equipment and it's abilities.  Sullenberger takes charge of the flight while Skiles (the co-driver....I LOVE the metaphor!) goes immediately to work trying to get the engines restarted while discussing with Sullenberger the possibilities of landing at nearby Teterboro airport in New Jersey.  Skiles is clicking through checklists, firing up a generator that takes the place of power generation from engines that are no longer running.  No one is thinking about video clips of crashes.
To help the situation, Sullenberger addresses his passengers preparing them in a quiet assuring voice for an emergency landing.  As they approach the water, Skiles training in the Airbus 320 prods him to hit the switch that seals the underside of the plane (designed by Airbus for water landings so the plane doesn't swamp and sink).  While situations aren't ideal, no one in charge is experiencing FEAR.  They are present, operating with complete trust in each other's trained capabilities, understanding that each other is trained repeatedly to handle any situation that arises, and experiencing that camaraderie that focuses on the goal.
I am frequently asked if I experience fear when I co-drive (navigating in the passenger seat of a race car hitting speeds in excess of 100 mph on a one lane gravel road we've never seen before) and I must admit I do not.  My role is that of First Office Skiles.  In order for the team to be successful there simply aren't any resources to spare on FEAR.  I must do my job perfectly or the outcome will not be pretty....so does the driver....and the mechanic.  Trust, understanding and camaraderie at racing speeds.
How does FEAR, that irrational projection of gloom and doom, affect your team's effectiveness?  I'd love to talk with you about it.

Data vs. Perception
In the 15th century, entrepreneurial ship captains roamed the docks of Genoa, Italy looking for crews to sail around the world.  Why do you suppose they had a hard time?  Because everyone knew in those days that the world was flat....you couldn't sail "around the World", you would fall off the edge and certainly die.
The New York Times published in October of 1903...
The flying machine which will really fly might be evolved by the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanicians in from one million to ten million years.
On that very day Orville and Wilbur Wright began construction of the first airplane which "really flew" just two months later.
Truth is proved inaccurate on a daily basis.  New data makes old truths obsolete.
Our personal truths, however, seem to us to be immune to this.  Our personal truths are sacred.  We just "know" what's right and wrong.  We just "know" how things should be done.  We just inherently vote for the "right" candidate.  Our version of "God" is the right one.
But guess what?  My truth is different than yours!  Which one of us is right?  In this world of dysfunctional interpersonal communications, it's this disconnect in personal truths that cause significant problems.  Where's the common ground on which to base a productive conversation?  Data!  Unfiltered data is the basis of accuracy.  All the other stuff (flat Earth, flying machines, "God", which direction the toilet paper should roll off the cylinder) are merely perceptions of accuracy.  They are beliefs constructed from years and years of experiences.  But they are perceptions.  Accuracy lies in the data, not the perceptions.
As an example, John, the CEO and his CFO Stephen, were engaged in yet another of their legendary spats about where to invest their ever shrinking funds trying to survive recent business downturns.  John (having arrived at his position through a sales channel) would continually champion his "truth", that spending available capital on promotion and sales was the path to success.  After all, "we can't stay in business without new customers", right?  Stephen's "truth" was one of conservatism and preserving cash flow for the purpose of serving existing customers and keeping them happy and purchasing.  Which one was right?  Which one was wrong?  How can we end this constant argument which everyone has heard a dozen times?  History has proven that this argument never ends and there are no winners.  Right and wrong are not determined, and energy and attitude are sacrificed.
Then one day, Stephen suggests that he and John go out to dinner.  He'd asked their auditor to bring some numbers, not to prove his point, or disprove John's, but to present and accurate picture of the situation.  In this economy, the auditor proved, clients weren't abandoning old alliances, and attracting new ones would cost 17% more today than it did a year ago.  That meant that keeping the old ones was actually going to be easier (since customers weren't leaving old vendors).   Out of this data comparison, entered into openly by both John and Stephen, under the bright light of accurate data, a third possibility was explored and pursued.  They spent this shrinking available capital on development of a new product which they could sell to their current clients (thus improving cash flow), and that would position them strongly to capture new clients as the economy recovered.

When it was discovered that the accurate data didn't support either John's or Stephen's theses, they both saw the problem without the cloud of their own personal "truths" and creative new ideas flowed.
None of my above arguments, of course, is necessarily accurate.  They are my opinions, and therefore my truths.  But it is my experience that exploring unfiltered, unprejudiced data is the common ground from which incredible creativity and productivity can emerge.

The key is accurate data, not agendized concepts, or spun numbers.

Get present.  Today.  It's your choice.

Kim DeMotte
Power of NO, Corporate CoDriver
(877) 245-8250