Simon Sinek published "Start with Why" back in 2009. Sinek is fascinated by the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact, especially those with the capacity to inspire. In his book, Sinek discusses the patterns about how they think, act and communicate. Examples include the Wright Brothers and Apple. These companies focus first on the why of their existence - the reason they exist. Not just what they do or how they do it. Read the book or watch his TED talk for more. So how does this relate to our aviation department?
Do you know why your company exists? Why does it do what it does? If your company can express this, then you can explore or define they ways the business aircraft can help achieve this. While this may sound like navel gazing, it is not. It involves a deep understanding the differences between successful and "nice try." It is from this perspective that you can identify those things that the business aircraft can do to facilitate and advance the business at the most core level. Tie the use of the aircraft into to loftiest, highest-meaning levels of the company's existence.
Where does the aircraft add value to your company or owner? Yes, it makes better use of time. To what end? What is the importance of that time, and more over, the value of that time? Does the business aircraft enable your company to make the most productive uses of its passengers' time? For one company, it may be that the leader is so incredibly valuable to the company's future growth, enabling that person to have one-on-one contact with customers, clients, and division leaders produces significant value in terms of motivation, desire, focus, and profit. For another company it may be that enabling scattered teams to work more frequently together in one place enhances their cohesion and unity, and enabling goals to be accomplished sooner and with fewer resources.
Attaching the corporate goals and aspirations with the use of the aircraft enables you to define (and defend) the use of the aircraft as a valued business tool. Identify the most important mission for the aircraft. That is the mission which enables the aviation department to select the right aircraft by defining the parameters the aircraft must meet in order to help the corporation succeed.
“Mission drives requirements”
In defining the mission, we get to the importance of quantifying the mission. While a decision maker may select an aircraft from emotion, we need to make sure that they have the information needed to quantify their decision. We need to quantify the mission, the aircraft requirements, and the costs. Then we can allow emotions in the process.
I had one client who needed frequent trips between New Jersey and Oregon & Washington. One part of the mission was passenger loads rarely exceeded four persons. That opened up a number of aircraft that had the passenger load been 15, would have defined a different aircraft all together. Since these individuals were senior executives, and the trip length relatively long, an en route stop for fuel left them with little time remaining in their travel day for significant productive work. They needed non-stop capability. Defending the use of a larger aircraft that will spend most of its time half-empty was easy once the mission was understood to require a non-stop capability. But why that non-stop capability was needed (and not just wanted) was important. They ended up with a super mid-size business jet that accomplished their primary mission, and one that was cost-effective.
Understanding the missions assigned to the aviation department and being able to quantify them is vital in making the right aircraft choices. But when the company stock price plummets, understanding and articulating the aircraft as it relates to why the business does what it does is vital in keeping the aviation department.