On July 11, 2011, In Who Packs Your Parachute?,
Gratitude for each member of your team critical for success I recently read about the ordeal of US Navy jet pilot Charles Plumb, whose plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile on his 75th combat mission. He parachuted out but was captured and spent six years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He somehow survived the nightmare and now teaches leadership! Years later, when Plumb was at a restaurant, a man came up and said, “You’re Charles Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down! “How in the world did you know that?” questioned Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.
Plumb was taken aback by this man. The man looked at him and said smilingly, “I guess it worked!” Plumb quickly responded, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.” Charles Plumb couldn’t sleep that night as he thought about the man who possibly saved his life. He wondered if he had been nice to him when they were in the army. He was a fighter pilot and he was just an ordinary sailor so in most likelihood, he would not have thought much of the lowly sailor back then. Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor must have spent in the bowels of the ship, carefully entwining the shrouds and compacting the silks of each chute, holding in his hands the destiny of someone he didn’t know. And he was thankful that he had someone in his team who packed his parachute so well that it worked. This led me to ask myself, “who’s packing my parachute?” Each day, there are numerous challenges in business and in life where we need the help and support of so many people to ensure that our “parachute” works when a pivotal moment arrives. It may be ensuring our powerpoint slides are perfect, or our proposals to a major customer is beautifully bound or just ensuring our products work each time. Everyone is highly reliant on people in our...