Remove Drag for Better Performance

It’s a beautiful sunny day with a slight breeze right down the runway. I’ve been cleared by John Wayne Airport ground control to taxi my Bonanza and hold short of the active runway, 19 Left. Everything is going exactly as planned. All systems are working perfectly.

As I’m holding short the tower calls my aircraft, “Bonanza 9198Q, line up and wait on 19 Left.” There is an aircraft taking off and one that will be landing. I’m going to be sandwiched in between them. I lineup and wait. The towers next instruction is “cleared for take-off”.

I apply full power, reach lift off speed, and start to gain altitude as I depart the airport environment. I’ve been cleared to an altitude limit of 3,000 feet. A short time after takeoff approach control clears me to my final cruising altitude of 5,500 feet.

I do my usual visual check and I notice that I am not climbing properly. I’m only getting a 500 foot per minute climb at an airspeed of 80 knots. I should be getting a 1000-foot climb at an airspeed of 110 knots. I had the proper power setting of 25 throttle and 25 on my propeller so I’m wondering what’s wrong with the performance. Then I glance over and see three green lights for my landing gear.

This means that my landing gear is still down. I was distracted by my passenger during take-off climb and I forgot to retract the landing gear. With the gear, down there is a tremendous amount of drag from air resistance on the aircraft hence the corresponding lower performance. As soon as I retracted the landing gear my performance improved to the levels that I expected and anticipated.

Where in your life do you have drag that is inhibiting your performance? You might have the proper inputs like I had in my airplane example yet still not getting the expected performance results. If this is the case, then you’ve got a drag that is pulling you down.

The first step is an awareness step. You must be aware that you have a drag and that it’s lowering your performance. This of course also implies that you are in reference to known performance goals and standards.

Step two is to identify the drag.

Step three is to take the necessary actions to correct or eliminate the drag.

Step four is to monitor performance for the expected performance improvement once the corrective action has been completed.

Let’s break this down and apply to business performance.

What are your reference points? What are your objectives? What are you measuring? Usually in business this involves sales and the activities include calls, setting appointments, having the appointments, following ups, etc.

If you are not reaching your objectives, then perhaps you are not doing enough of the right activities. What’s stopping you? That’s step two, identifying the drag.

Perhaps it’s constant interruptions. Perhaps it’s your health; you just don’t have the energy to do what you need to be doing. Perhaps you need to train a new assistant. It could be any number of things, people or circumstances that would be the equivalent of the landing gear being left down and creating drag.

Once you’ve identified the source of the drag now it’s time to implement step three which is to identify and execute the corrective actions. Of course, what follows is a monitoring of your performance now that you have applied your intervention.

Apply this to your own set of circumstances and see what you find. This also puts the focus right back on you. It’s not a matter of finding what or who to blame for pulling down results. It’s about taking responsibility, being precisely planned, well prepared and executing thought out options. Once your settings are correct you too will achieve the performance results that you expect as well.

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