Thursday, January 1, 2009

What Every Entrepreneur Should Learn from the Emergency Landing in the Hudson River

As I watched the footage from the Hudson River of US Airways flight 1549 emergency landing and rescue, I couldn't help but make a few comparisons to the journey of every entrepreneur. Here are just a few of the lessons we should all take very seriously.

First Lesson
You want Chelsey Sullenberger flying the plane. This guy is as seasoned as they come, and he knew exactly what to do when the double-bird strike occurred. He had trained his entire life for an emergency like this, and he handled it masterfully. Even if you do not have Chelsey Sullenberger running your company, you need to surround yourself with people like him. People with the experience, training, and background to advise you at every critical point in your business.

Second Lesson
The leader is the last one off the plane. The pilot walked the plane twice to make sure everyone else was safe before he exited. Most entrepreneurs know how this feels. They are the first to forgo a paycheck if cash is tight, and they are the first to make sacrifices of time and resources for the sake of the entire business. Do not become an entrepreneur unless you are completely comfortable with this.

Third Lesson
A motivational focus brings people together and creates synergy. Few of the 155 people on this flight knew each other before they boarded this plane. They are all now friends for life along with all who helped in the rescue efforts. The human spirit is powerful, and we catch a glimpse of it when we see such emergencies. Successful leaders understand this principle and they bring people together to a common "rallying" cry. With everyone motivated on a common purpose, much more good is accomplished than each person working independently with varying motives and incentives.

These and other lessons helped avert a disaster and saved 155 lives. When applied to your entrepreneurial efforts, they can also help you avert disaster and successfully grow.