“What I learned most from being with the Blue Angels has nothing to do with flying itself. I learned that the process of engaging at this high level, when my very life depended on successful communication, accurate information, trust and follow through, is the same process leaders and successful individuals use to achieve excellence.” – John Foley
Imagine being part of an elite, highly trained team who routinely achieve levels of extreme precision, then asked to improve your performance by 300%. John had to transition from a Navy carrier pilot to Lead Solo of the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team and learn to fly a plane at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour & in formations as close as 18 inches from his teammates. John became one of the top pilots in the world by applying principles that would become the basis for his unique Diamond Performance® Framework. By using the Blue Angel methodology as a model, he developed a framework for excellence that has informed his life in a profound way and has guided his approach to achievement.
I had the honor to hear John Foley speak at our Peak Performer Event in Arizona this past week for my work and I wanted to share a few highlights from his very inspiring speech. Each of John’s frameworks below can be implemented in any organization or position, but I wanted to relate these key points in the context of Project Management.
The Diamond Performance® Framework:
- High Performance Zone: The gap between your current state and your goals for the future. By decreasing this gap, you’re in the “High Performance Zone.” What obstacles are preventing you from moving from your current reality towards your stated goals? As a Project Manager, we often think of ways to take the current state/process and reach towards the highest potential by increasing efficiencies for an organization. Is time, resources, costs, or something else preventing you from reaching this desired goal? As a project manager, it is our duty to reach these goals, even though it may take an army to accomplish them, so what can be done to achieve these goals?
- Belief Levels: The process of developing a vision for your true potential and deepening the commitment and buy-in to that vision. Belief Mindset is about the: Process, Product, People, and Purpose that is larger than yourself. What are your Limiting and Liberating Beliefs? As a Project Manager, do you belief in all that you do in your day-to-day position in managing different projects? Do you belief in the processes you implement/improve upon, the products/services you support, your project team members, and having a purpose to wake up each more and perform your duties at work for the organization you work at?
- Brief: The practice of creating disciplined standards for preparation and planning through focus, processes, and checklists. Reflect on each grateful moment that occurred in the past 24 hours and think about what you are about to look forward towards in the next 24 hours. What are the key disciplines you, or your team, must adhere to as you close performance gaps? What distractions must be identified and avoided? As a Project Manager, before you head into work, have thought about the positive things that you have done recently and plan to do? It’s important to have a positive mindset before walking in the doors to work each morning, as it sets the tone for the day.
- Center Point: The alignment of individuals and teams on priorities and a focal point. Is your Center Point in alignment with your team’s Center Point? As a Project Manager, are your priorities in alignment with your organization and your team members? It is important to make sure everyone is on the same page, so everyone is working towards the same goals.
- Contracts: The system of using agreements to build trust in order to achieve greater levels of execution. Build Trust is broken into 3 parts: Competent, Commitment, and Character. What are key verbal contracts between you, your teammates and clients? As a Project Manager, it is important to build trust in your project team, so others can rely on you to complete tasks and helps to build a positive reputation.
- Debrief: The system for continuous improvement that creates an environment of open and honest communication and reinforces accountability, trust, and teamwork. Be open, place no blame on others, provides an opportunity to reflect, and causes you to look inward first. Does your team have a commonly understood and adhered to process for creating a safe environment, for capturing critical learning’s, and for celebrating success? As a Project Manager, I refer to this step as our Lesson’s Learned sessions, as it is so important to do at the end of any project. This helps you to continue to do what is working well and improve on those items that are not going so well.
- Glad to Be Here: The attitude of gratefulness and thankfulness for: being alive, opportunities, and people. What is it about your organization, its people, and your work opportunities that give you that greatest sense of gratitude? As a Project Manager, this is a great statement and mindset to have, as not everything is positive in life, but causes you to reflect and remember what is most important.