The attitude and actions of a heroic airline pilot

By Stan Toler

Much has happened since that January day when US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River. A rock and roll recession has all but blotted it from the newspapers. But its captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, still receiving honors for heroism, will be forever remembered as the pilot who kept his cool in the crash.

In many ways these days could be compared to a river landing. No matter that the vast majority of Americans are still employed or that most homeowners are still making their mortgage payments, the “cash crash” is hovering over the minds of organizations and their administrators. How do you stay cool in the crash? Let’s apply the attitude and actions of the heroic captain.

First, he drew from his training. Sullenberger had spent hours in a flight simulator, practicing procedures for the worst case scenario, and had faced tense situations in previous flights. Likewise we’ve been practicing for days like these. This isn’t the first crisis you and I have faced. Reflect on the strategies that took you through those gut-wrenching moments in the past.

Second, he acted on the best possible information. He read the gauges. He listened to the air traffic controllers. He talked with his crew. It’s a good plan for us as well. Gather the wisdom of your personal “board of advisors”—those leaders known for godly wisdom and insights. It’s time for a meeting.

Third, he let reason rule his mind. Panic might have chosen an alternate route—and certain calamity. He made the reasonable choice. He used the “available” to avoid the “inevitable,” for example using the wing flaps to slow the plane without stalling it. Leaders are using the “available,” making lemonade from lemons being handed them, finding creative ways to minister vibrantly in this economy.

What we think about the current crisis will determine how we act or react. The buzzards may be circling but God isn’t finished with us yet.


Copyright © 2012 by Stan A. Toler

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