Checklist Accountability

As we start  the new year we have goals and dreams. To reach those goals and dreams, we suggest you put into place structure to hold you accountable.


Last year one of the big movies was “‘Sully” which starred Tom Hanks as US Air pilot Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. This story depicts the January 2009 harrowing adventure when an airplane carrying 150 was struck by birds leaving Laguardia airport. And  Captain Sullenberger and his crew had to land the Airbus A320 on the Hudson river.  


The backstory of this heroic event is intriguing as the story we saw on television cameras in 2009, was just the tip of the iceberg.


If you see the movie or read the book written by Sullenberger, there is a point in the story where the captain and first officer realize that they are in trouble. Within seconds they refer to their checklist on what to do in an emergency. The movie shows them opening emergency books and quickly going through prescribed routines trying to restart the engines and then ultimately preparing to ditch the aircraft in the Hudson river.


The key moments happen so quickly and the pilots have trained themselves instinctively to reach for these manuals.  I will not spoil the story for you, but you get the picture. In a life and death struggle, the Captain relied on a checklist to prepare his crew and passengers for disaster.


Captain Sully was holding himself accountable by reviewing everything he had learned and everything the Airbus aircraft manufacturer had planned for such an emergency. The French company could not have known that a flock of geese would strike their A320 in January 2009 with such devastation, but the company did know that something like this might happen.  


Therefore a plan was put into place for such an incident. The plan was the checklist placed in the cockpit for emergencies. This were devised years before in the calm of day when scenarios could be worked out and planned for maximum survival. These checklists were the summation of the knowledge at the time.


The checklist gave the Captain and the crew the best chance for survival. As the movie shows, these plans along with the Captain’s skill, experience and thinking on his feet saved all those people.


How does this help us today?


In times of stress, as we strive for our goals, it is important to have a checklist or written plan in place.


This written document is a structure in place. It is a place to start. This will keep you accountable for your goal.  This is your reference when the birds hit your best made plans.


A written plan in case of emergency will help you to be accountable.


A little coaching tip: Write down your goals for 2017. There is magic in the written word and you can refer to it often in times of stress.


A little coaching tip number 2:


Prepare a checklist for what you are going to do when a bird hits your plan.

Who are you going to call for encouragement?

What are you going to tell yourself when disappointment strikes your plan?

What is your plan B?

Aircraft engineer working on 737 jet engine in airport
Aircraft engineer working on 737 jet engine in airport

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