pilots oxygen masks and communication
Challenges,  Communication,  Entrepreneurs,  Mindset,  Overcoming Obstacles

What do plane crashes, oxygen masks, and communication all have in common?

This Week’s Highlights: 

Core Article: “The oxygen mask and the surprising cause of plane crashes”

Paragraph I’m Pondering:  The greatest problem of communication.

Powerful Affirmations to Inspire: Focusing on your work and your life.

Book Review: When The Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction For Life’s Sacred Questions, by Sue Monk Kidd

Cool Stuff: Interesting strategy to relieve anger.

AI Info & Resources: Tired of writing emails? Let this AI help. 🙂

The oxygen mask and the surprising cause of plane crashes

You know when you’re flying, and they always tell you to put on your oxygen mask first in the event of an emergency?

Well, there’s something else that goes on behind the scenes that I just discovered. I thought it was fascinating, and I wanted to share it with you…

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, ” You Can Do Hard Things,” with Glennon Doyle, her spouse Abby Wambach, and Glennon’s sister Amanda Doyle.

In this episode, Amanda discussed how the aviation industry shifted and became safer. One of the things they implemented was a safeguard for the first officer to communicate with the captain.

It turns out that many more plane crashes have occurred previously due to a power differential in the cockpit between the pilot and first officer. 

This was first talked about in Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell’s book. The aviation industry studied several black box cockpit recordings from commercial airline crashes and discovered this anomaly. 

The majority of plane crashes weren’t due to mechanical failures; they were due to human error. Specifically, they were due to the first officer not feeling he/she could speak up to the captain. 

This research was done years ago when plane crashes were more prevalent than they are now.

It also turns out that the majority of crashes happen when the pilot is flying the plane, not the first officer. Strange, right?

That’s because the first officer didn’t feel empowered to speak up if he saw an issue. There was a failure in the pattern of communications. 

Gladwell gave a good example of the Korean Air Flight 801 crash in 1997, where cultural communication issues among the flight crew played a big role in that disaster.

So, the aviation industry instituted new training and specific phrases for the first officer:

These Are Escalation Phrases:

  1. “Captain, I’m concerned about…”
  2. “I’m not comfortable with…”
  3. “Captain, I believe the situation is unsafe…”

Other Phrases:

  1. “Let’s discuss our options regarding…”
  2. “I suggest we consider…”
  3. “I need to confirm that…”
  4. “We might want to re-evaluate…”
  5. “Can we double-check…”
  6. “Do you agree we should…”
  7. “Should we consider…”

I thought Gladwell’s research and Amanda’s explanation on the We Can Do Hard Things podcast really hit home.

It is interesting that by analyzing black box conversations, they were able to realize this power dynamic and put training in place to avoid further plane crashes. And avoid power differentials and struggles in the cockpit.

I also started to think about how this could work in any other environment. 🙂 

Think about your relationships with your spouse, partner, family, work, colleagues, and more.

Has this power dynamic ever been an issue? 

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t speak up about something that you knew would be a mistake, where your “plane” would go off course, or worse, “crash” in communications?

It can be really frustrating when you don’t feel like you can speak up or when you get entangled in confusing communications.

When I was in corporate America, it happened to me more than once. I definitely learned from those mistakes, mostly after working with my executive coach.

Here are some action steps you can take for clearer and more empowered communication:

  1. Using Clear Communication: Just like pilots use phrases to ensure clarity, you need to prioritize clear communication with your team, colleagues, and family. Use direct language to express your concerns, give feedback, and share information to ensure you prevent costly mistakes and frustrations.

    Have regular family meetings or check-ins on important topics. Set aside dedicated time for one-on-one conversations with your spouse or partner for mutual understanding and support.
  2. Create a Safe Atmosphere to Speak Up: In aviation, creating an environment where co-pilots feel comfortable voicing concerns to the captain is critical for safety. Similarly, you could foster a culture where team members, family, or colleagues feel safe speaking up, sharing ideas, and challenging decisions constructively. This openness can lead to better decision-making and innovation.

    Practice active listening, showing empathy, and understanding when team members, family, or colleagues express their concerns.
  3. Collaborative Decision-Making: Pilots work together to assess situations and make decisions, considering all available information and perspectives.

    You could adopt a collaborative approach to decision-making, involving key team members, family, or colleagues in discussions and leveraging diverse viewpoints to arrive at the best possible solutions. Brainstorm solutions and reach a consensus on important issues at work and at home. If it makes sense, consider making decisions together and getting everyone’s buy-in, who will be affected by a decision.

If you want to delve more into this, I’d recommend these books: Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson. And The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. And of course Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell.

Not So Quick Update

Boy as they say in New York – this week is a “skorcher.” The hottest day was yesterday, clocking at 105 – whoa… Yes, it’s summer in Redding, CA. I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying the beginning of summer. This first week of June is always a busy week for us as it’s Alice’s birthday, and this year is our 5-year wedding anniversary. We’re heading into San Francisco to see Wanda Sykes, and it ought to be fun and a bit cooler down there.

And on another note, I’m coming clean this week on a new project I’ve been working on while in Mel Robbins’s Launch Program.

My homework is I’m supposed to share with you the project I’m working on. Honestly, it’s been a real struggle for me to finish this project. I’m noticing my perfection demon just strangling me, and then fear, which leads to procrastination. Well, the project was on the back burner until now.

So… I’m gone share this with you –Here’s the title of my new free eGuide :

The Soulful Marketing Manifesto: Revolutionize Your Marketing & Achieve Greater Success with Authenticity and Value-Driven Strategies. It’s for Mindful Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs.

It’s almost done. I’m getting nervous and excited. And am truly looking forward to sharing it with you in the next 2 weeks, or sooner.

Weekly Scavenger Hunt:

This week was interesting. I found a rubber band, a stick that looks like a wishbone, and a message on someone’s driveway… Lots I could read into all these. 🙂 (See some photos below.)

Paragraph I’m Pondering: 

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” ~ Roy T. Bennett

Powerful Affirmations to Inspire:
~ Created by Shannon’s Visionary Guide GPT

  • “Every day, in every way, I am becoming more successful and empowered. I confidently embrace each opportunity, knowing it leads me closer to my ultimate vision.”
  • “I am a magnet for abundance and prosperity. Wealth and opportunities flow to me effortlessly, enabling me to achieve my goals and inspire others.”
  • “I am a beacon of inspiration and positivity. My words and actions uplift and empower those around me, creating a ripple effect of success and fulfillment.”

Book Review

Have you ever had a spiritual life crisis? I’d definitely recommend Sue Monk Kidd’s
When The Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction For Life’s Sacred Questions

Cool Stuff

AI Info & Resources: 

  • Need some business questions answered for free? Check out this AI business consulting tool. 
  • This is an AI email writer that was created for professionals who want to save time and want an AI that can adapt to a variety of situations.
  • Thinking about creating an online course? Here’s a way to simplify and create it with AI.

Weekly Photos

  • There’s my sign to “Have a great day,” and I did!
  • My little wishbone branch was hanging out, waiting for me on the sidewalk.
  • OMG Emma so looks like a Buddha dog, or one that hasn’t gotten enough sleep – ha!
  • My new favorite used bookstore – Cal’s – felt like miles of floor-to-ceiling books – I LOVED it, $85 later!
  • My fun calendar I create for us every year on Snapfish. It makes for a great Christmas present. After I did one, Alice made me promise to do one every year. That’s the photo of this month with our wedding and her birthday celebrations noted with photos. And the big photo from our wedding. 
  • Then there’s another pic of Emma, always waiting at the front door for visitors – when are you coming?
  • It was a weird week – it started out with major clouds from a huge storm to the north of us, and we didn’t get any rain.
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