Four Simple Steps to Execute Your Business Strategy Like a Fighter Pilot


The Fighter Pilot Mindset

Disruption is becoming the norm in today’s fast-paced world. With unprecedented levels of change and information, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. However, by adopting a fighter pilot’s mindset, a mindset engineered to allow people to succeed consistently in high paced chaotic environments, you can turn disruption into opportunity and thrive in this dynamic environment.

As fighter pilots, we are trained to focus on every single detail of our mission. We have to memorize hundreds of checklist items to operate an aircraft safely, from starting the airplane to landing through the clouds. We can’t afford to miss a single step. It’s all about aligning our purpose with the art of strategy and the science of day-to-day execution.

In the fighter pilot world, we have a saying: “If you lose sight, you lose the fight.” This means that if you lose sight of your mission objective, you will lose the fight every single time. This mindset has enabled us to succeed in the most challenging environments, and it can help you succeed in your business as well.

At Afterburner, we’ve worked with some of the world’s most successful businesses, helping them to deliver their strategies and achieve their goals. We’ve even helped two NFL teams win the Super Bowl. Our unique mindset and methods can translate into a winning formula for your business as well.

One of the critical processes that we teach in the fighter pilot world is Flawless Execution, or FLEX. Flawless Execution is not about perfect execution, but striving towards a flawless outcome. The FLEX cycle contains four steps to executing your business strategy:


The planning process involves analyzing the current situation, setting clear and measurable objectives, identifying potential obstacles or risks, and devising a course of action to achieve the desired outcome. This step is crucial to ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands their roles and responsibilities.


The next step is briefing the plan to the team responsible for its execution. This step is critical to ensure that everyone understands the plan and their roles and responsibilities. A plan that is not communicated properly can result in confusion, wasted effort, and potential failure.


The mission is carried out following the plan developed in the previous steps. The team in charge executes the mission while adhering to established procedures and safety protocols. In the business world, it’s essential to establish a simple yet agile work approach that unites your business and digital teams to execute with precision and speed to succeed.


This step involves reflecting on the mission’s outcome, discussing what went well and what didn’t, and identifying ways to improve for the next mission. We call this a nameless and rankless debrief, where everyone is equal and focused on finding ways to improve.

By adopting the fighter pilot’s mindset and using the FLEX cycle, you can turn disruption into an opportunity for growth and success. The potential to enhance your team’s capabilities is within reach, and there should be no excuses. Cultivating a culture that brings these methods to life is crucial to surpassing your goals.

To conclude, you don’t have to be a fighter pilot to think like one. By adopting the fighter pilot’s mindset and using the FLEX cycle, you can achieve your goals, regardless of your background or industry. So, let’s turn disruption into an opportunity for growth and success.




Want to learn more about flawless execution and how to adopt the fighter pilot’s mindset?

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