Motivational Speaker - John Foley ( Former Blue Angel)

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Our company today hosted a renowned motivational speaker Mr. John Foley of Blue Angels fame. The title of the talk being "Learn High Performance from a Fighter Pilot", he talked about High Performance and how The Blue Angels way of management, precision, trust and team work can help companies build high performance teams. His energy was profound and kept the audience captivated by the visuals from the FA-18 Hornet's cockpit, the briefing sessions before the Airshows, his experiences at the Moscow Airshow in 1992 (as goodwill ambassadors) and the debriefing sessions where they reflect on the days happenings (mistakes, errors and things of cheer and success).

John discussed the critical thinking and processes required to achieve high performance in an environment requiring high precision, just like our semiconductor industry. With merely half a meter between planes in formation – a space that is narrower than your head to your feet when sitting – John knows the importance of performance. As one of only six people in the world at one time to be a demo pilot, John is familiar with behaviors of the top one-tenth of one percent of the performance pyramid.

The Blue Angels program has fifty percent turnover in its top echelon, which is a planned rotation of demo pilots. To support excellence, the group requires consistent processes and procedures. A new member of the Blue Angels undertakes intense training in becoming a fully trained demo pilot as the program sustains 300% improvement in three months. John asserts that elevating your belief level in turn elevates performance.

The first level of belief includes vision and clarity. Is the vision liberating or limiting? Limiting is from without. Liberating is from within.

Secondly, when a new entrant comes to the program they have six weeks to watch, learn and absorb the culture. They are exposed to a liberating vision, and their belief level increases.

Thirdly, in the increasing levels of belief, a team establishes trust, execution, and commitment. The key to execution is trust. There is a contract between members – an agreement with consequences. This contract is not written or formal, but rather verbal between team members. If the wingman is off, he must say he is off. He does not try to correct on his own or hide it. If he is on target, there is no need to say anything. He trusts that his wingman has it.

Finally, the last level includes assessment, discipline, and accountability. During debriefing, rank and experience are put aside. Each team member critiques his own performance and commits to correcting mistakes. High performers celebrate victories as well.

Has your company ever hosted such motivational speakers? How was the mood after the end of the session? Were you able to achieve anything out of such talks? Looking forward to your comments/responses.

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