7 Habits of Highly Effective Pilots

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Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was without a doubt a landmark business book. The book has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it one of the bestselling books of all time.

Sean Covey, Stephen’s son, has updated a new 30th-anniversary edition with fresh insights for our modern times. At BizJetJobs, we thought that during these trying times it would be fitting to adapt his advice to our pilot community.

“The more challenging society’s problems become,” Sean Covey says, “the more relevant the seven habits are to a new generation of leaders and professionals.”

The book is full of advice anyone can use, but its primary focus remains using Covey’s ideas to supercharge a career, or a job hunt.

Here are the seven habits, translated for the business jet pilot:

  1. Proactivity. Take action, even (or especially) when inertia is easier. Great salespeople know to follow up, follow up, follow up until they get an answer. A “no” can be a good thing, because it allows you to move on. Don’t just send your resume and applications out into the void via email or post and cross your fingers. Sometimes the hiring process can take longer than expected, or you begin training for a new type rating in the midst of your job search. These are great reasons to call – but you could just call to see if the position has been filled yet, or to ask if you can get in for that interview. You want to become known as someone who follows up, is proactive and makes things happen.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. Picture the future you want, and work toward it.When the challenges arise – the economy is stagnant, you’re tired and unmotivated, you get passed over for a position you really, really want – you will need reasons strong enough to follow through on your vision. This is where you can use discipline and healthy habits to show up for yourself and your dream. It’s in these challenging moments that your vision for a better life will carry you through. Do you have a compelling “why” for the changes you want to make in your life? Where do you want to get to? Money can be a powerful motivator, but at the end of the day this has to be about more than money.Take the vision that absolutely excites and inspires you and create sound, compelling reasons to follow through on this vision. For example:
    • How would you feel if in one year you had achieved your vision?
    • How would you feel about yourself?
    • How would you feel about your life?

    It is so important to create strong enough reasons.  Having a powerful enough “why” will provide you with the necessary “how”.

    Knowing why you want to work for ______ , might make all the hard work and effort not that big of a deal. Know “why” you are a pilot and “why” you love to fly will get you through the hard times. Knowing your “why” will help you overcome any difficulty and help you overcome any hurdle. Knowing your “why” might make all the difference for your attitude.

  3. Make your health a priority. Top pilots are a lot like athletes. They take pride in their personal appearance, health, and athletic abilities.If you’re a real Top Gun, a focus on health goes well beyond looks. When people’s lives are in your hands, there’s an additional sense of urgency to staying alert and feeling tip-top. It’s not just about looking good, it’s about feeling good and performing at your best when people’s lives are on the line. When your physical health is a priority, everything else will fall into place.
  4. Think “win-win.” Help others while helping yourself. As aviation professionals, we usually consider things like safety, timeliness, and passenger experience while flying. But when looking for work in the business world with a corporation, large or small, we would be well-served to also always consider the value we can add as an employee. This “win-win” language your employer speaks sees your flight department as an integral tool for getting business done efficiently – by connecting staff with customers, factories, mines, plants, Wall Street and Washington – without negatively impacting the bottom line. Flight crew salaries are one of the biggest costs associated with having a corporate flight department. So being seen as an integral part of getting your company’s business done, you’ll have more job security and the option for upward mobility.We wrote a post a few years back with some topics to bring up in an interview, to let your prospective employer know you’re thinking win-win. It’s more timely than ever.
  5. Stay curious. Seek first to understand, then to be understood, which means making sure you diagnose the situation correctly before rushing to a solution.A successful company needs employees who are on board with and aligned with their company’s greater purpose. Top pilots research their prospective employers’ corporate culture, to make sure they are a fit. We encourage job-seeking pilots to spend some time writing down ways their top values could be reflected in an ideal job. Keep these values top of mind as you research companies during your job search and use your values as the basis for some of the questions you ask hiring managers at your job interviews.
  6. Collaborate with others and achieve more. A great pilot communicates well with his or her team, maintenance, scheduling, dispatch, and business management, keeping everyone in the loop. They stay open to questions and constructive criticism.
  7. Recharge your battery by reconnecting regularly with nature. Studies show that a simple walk in the woods or a stroll by the beach on a sunny morning can give you more peace, confidence and groundedness.

If you’re a pilot who needs help finding your next corporate pilot job, join BizJetJobs.com today. As a member, you can upload your own resume—or use our Resume Builder (in your Pilot Dashboard) to create a new corporate aviation resume to send to employers.

Top aviation employers are on our website every day looking to fill top pilot jobs with qualified candidates just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your email Inbox so you can apply as soon as something catches your eye.