I was among the millions of people who went to movie theaters recently to see "Top Gun: Maverick." It's one of the best movies I've seen in a few years.
My friend Lt. Col. Rob "Waldo" Waldman is an American author, motivational speaker, leadership consultant and founder of the Wingman Foundation. He is a decorated fighter pilot, having flown 65 combat missions, and a retired Air Force officer. He loved the movie because "it demonstrates how important it is for us to coach, mentor and lead our youth though challenge and fear."
"Top Gun: Maverick" is loaded with business and life lessons. This movie speaks volumes about values that lift, inspire, encourage and say, "I have your back no matter what."
Among the other core values that I picked up in the movie:
Trust. The most important word in business is trust. It takes years to build up trust, but only seconds to destroy it. Trust is central to doing business with anyone. I can only imagine the level of trust that fighter pilots, flying at dizzying speeds and performing mind-bending maneuvers, must have in each other.
Commitment. No one gets in the cockpit of one of these jets without total commitment. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. Commitment is the state of being bound — emotionally, intellectually or both — to a course of action. It starts with a choice and is sustained by dedication and perseverance.
Courage. It's easy to be ordinary. Courage is what sets you apart from the crowd. Courage is regarded as one of the major human virtues — bravery, valor, guts and nerve all rolled into one. I'm not a soldier, a police officer, a doctor or a relief worker; I'm a businessman. So, what does courage have to do with running a business? Plenty. I admit that most folks' daily lives are not filled with Hollywood-style dramatic challenges. But we all face situations that require us to reach down deep within ourselves to do what is right and brave and occasionally difficult. Courage can involve making decisions that are unpopular or time-consuming or even expensive.
Camaraderie/friendship. I've heard this quote many times, including from my good friend, Muhammad Ali: "Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything."
Adversity. I have never met a successful person who hasn't had to overcome a little — or a lot — of adversity. The impact and ultimate result depend on what you do with the difficulties that come your way. The adversities I've experienced have made me stronger, more fearless and, ultimately, more successful.
Perfection. The old saying that practice makes perfect is not true. You have to add one word: Perfect practice makes perfect. It doesn't matter whether you are practicing a presentation, a golf swing or flying a jet, you want to improve your performance, not repeat practice mistakes.
Passion. Passion is at the top of the list of the skills you need to excel in any profession. If you don't have a deep-down, intense, burning desire for what you are doing, there's no way you'll be able to work the long, hard hours it takes to become successful. However, if you are not very good at what you are passionate about, it won't matter.
Mackay's Moral: As Waldo Waldman says, "There is a time and a place for us to be a 'Top Gun.'"
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.