Don’t Kid Yourself – Your End is Near; Are Replacements Ready to Jump In





Why is your end near?

What is one of the most troubling trends challenging Critical Medical Aviation leaders?

What is being done to intensely develop, support, promote and recognize authentic leaders – at all levels of your organization?

What are you doing – hourly – daily – weekly – monthly ( not at some weekend leadership seminar once per year ) to assure key roles are never vacant or filled with individuals that are not fully ready to jump in – take charge – and perform to achieve high-yield outcomes – immediately with sustainability?

I have lost count of the number of phone calls, texts or e-mails we’ve received with individuals in desperation stating,

  • “Our Program Director resigned.” or
  • “Another Base Manager just asked to go back to flight line duty only and get out of management.” or
  • “Our Outreach Manager or Director of Education or Chief Mechanic defected to our number one rival – do you know of anybody available?”

Have you ever found yourself or your organization or flight program in a “desperate” circumstance lacking individuals needed for key roles? Why?

You have a highly developed and operationalized succession planning process in place – right?

If you do – well done – you’re astonishing – if you do not – don’t kid yourself – you must take action on this.


“The end is near” the moment any individual takes a new position or promotion. Just as we plan for aircraft replacement we must be planning for personnel replacement especially – leadership succession. Yes – you have five-billion other urgent matters up in the air – now I’m adding one more to your day’s complexity. But – when you become suddenly blind-sided it’s going to disrupt and cascade – worse yet – this could affect Safety and AMRM.


Some reading this may be thinking, “We just don’t have time or resources.” or “There’s a shortage of talent out there.” or “It’s just too difficult and complex to do succession planning.” or “It’s overwhelming.”

Really? Are you planning to be around in 2022 or beyond? (for some in 2019?)

Do you want to dominate your market space or have a rival take it away because they “get” and do succession planning?

GE, TOYOTA and NASA are not perfect – but – they are among the most effective organizations on the planet in succession planning – especially developing talent from within.

They view succession planning as a sustainable competitive advantage. And, there is ample evidence to verify the high-yield outcomes their commitment, discipline and systemization achieves. Read up on them. Better yet – visit them – learn from them. Or – get in touch with any organization in your market space known for effective succession planning. Come on – almost everybody wants to engage with people with helicopters and airplanes that are in critical medicine. See how you can help them succeed at something you do that is novel and valuable where they may need help or have gaps.

“But we’re not GE, TOYOTA or NASA… what can we do?” DO WHAT YOU CAN!

For each key position – plans and processes must be in constant motion to prepare individuals to “jump in” to key roles as needed.

The Double JUMPSEAT Succession Plan ™ is a model that can help. This approach requires that two individuals be identified and trained in parallel-path so that they are able to immediately replace key individuals similar to how NASA has back up astronauts ready to take over any mission at any time.

Your organization (at each base level) needs to designate a Double JUMPSEAT Succession Plan ™ Legacy Leader (with two able backups) to coordinate and synchronize your effort. You’re thinking, “Are you kidding me?”

Please – this is not strictly an HR function to be orchestrated from afar at the HQ. Especially – because in recent times – the individuals at the HQ are changing out faster than a flight crewmember lounging around in a T-shirt and shorts at a remote base in Florida changes in to their flight suit when toned out on a searing hot summer day. (Mark Thomas you know what I mean.)

You must be local, mindful and hyper-situationally aware because the ideal replacements are intimate with your market space, your “clan” / culture and most crucial – the three intrinsic drivers and key cravings of your customers. As a leader – you have to be on this. Because few others will. Don’t kid yourself.

This lead team will be responsible and accountable for your overall system, processes and management of identifying and training two individuals to be ready to “jump in” to each role that will be vacated.

MAKE THIS PART OF SOME SHIFT BRIEFINGS; “What if I got hit by an Ambulance?” 

Just as Best in Class flight programs integrate Safety/AMRM scenarios, Outreach training and Customer Focus into each shift-briefing – you can integrate content about Base Management or Program Directing into some briefings  so that “dormant” leaders gain insights and know-how should they desire to take leadership roles – or be forced to when a leader quits or moves up. Use scenarios that inform them on what they would need to do – for instance – if you got hit by an ambulance and could not make it into work at the base for a period of time. Make Succession Planning part of your shift briefing schedule and keep it consistent. JUST DO SOMETHING.

In the effort to achieve competitive advantage to create sustainable barriers to entry – the organization that has depth in staff to reflexively and seamlessly replace key individuals – will maintain momentum and optimize opportunities when they move up due to growth or if they defect, while competitors may experience oscillation and drag when the same happens to them. And it will.


In today’s world – hopefully – you have detailed videos and modules in your LMS that inform daily on;

  • How to be an Effective Base Manager
  • How to be an Effective Program Director
  • How to be an Effective Outreach Specialist or Business Development Manager as examples.

This is why we created our online Flight Request Stimulator ™ and OutreachU™ Outreach Practioner™ certification programs. This LMS is Mission Critical.

We wanted to be sure that our clients had highly competent Outreach staff in the field and also had individuals pre-emptively preparing online – even if they were not yet in full-time Outreach or Business Development roles. They’d be tuned up and be ready to JUMP IN when needed. No lag – no stall. 

Better yet – all could be honing their Outreach skills and practicing before they were required to be full-on activated.

Your “end is near” as you will likely move to a new position or organization and every other individual’s “end is near” and must be replaced. This is a constant – this is certain.

If you have a high-velocity succession planning process in motion – your organization (or base) will seize and secure advantages your rivals will not.

Is this easy – HECK NO! Is this necessary – your choice.

Thanks in advance to those authentic leaders (especially at the base level) that will not seek excuses – but already are – or will take action on succession planning, intensive daily leadership development, Professionalized Outreach and relentless customer focus.

Our nation is counting on us – it is our duty to be prepared.

Having been through this a lot in 18 years – ThinkThroughTools has developed guidelines that can help you with Succeeding at Double Jump-Seating.

And especially – we can help with empowering you to train those currently in charge of Outreach and to prepare those that in the future will be responsible and accountable to earn and stimulate more flight requests.

If you are truly serious about this – be in touch and we can provide help to get you going.   330.623.5910


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