June 1, 2017

When I hear the word “paranoia” I think negatively of a mental condition. But, being “paranoid” is not always negative. Two of our KING AEROSPACE Cornerstone Principles require demonstrating “Pro-Active/Problem Solving Attitudes” and “Quality in Everything (“No Excuses”).” Living principles and professed convictions of service to God, Country and Family creates in me a very conscious and never ending paranoia. I do not want to fail those who place their trust in us.

Over the years I have observed that most successful entrepreneurs, coaches, leaders, pilots, doctors, and people in dangerous situations must anticipate all of the things that can go wrong and prepare for them should they become a reality. This anticipation or “Pro-Active” thinking leads to what some call “conscious paranoia.” The saying “you snooze, you lose” helps explain this concept.

When we make mistakes in our daily lives, the consequences are seldom life threatening. This is not the case when you are dealing with objects weighing thousands of pounds and traveling 500 miles per hour in the sky. When aviation people make mistakes by not following checklists, procedures, processes or by simply ignoring the reality of the situation, people can die. We all make mistakes and that is why there is redundancy incorporated into aviation safety procedures.

A major ingredient in fostering an accident free environment is the constant awareness of procedures and processes that have consistently produced positive results. Things like pre-flight checklists, shadowed tool boxes that reflect when a tool is missing and the tracking of tools after every use are good examples of methods to mitigate risks.

Aviation processes have been imported by other industries in an attempt to identify root causes of problems in a clear and open environment. The medical industry has implemented many of the fundamental principles that have been used in aviation long before being incorporated into other fields.

It’s about thinking of the damage to people or equipment that could take place should you fail to fully do what is required. It’s about looking for minor or small symptoms as potential signs of what could lead to major disasters. As a two time cancer survivor, I have insight as to how this concept works outside of aviation!

Most important of all, you must foster an environment where people are allowed to freely share their concerns, observations and experiences without repercussions, in the spirit of making things better. Many hospitals have processes to report items anonymously, which can lead to improvements resulting in saving lives, faster patient recoveries and reducing cost.

The use of “conscious paranoia” becomes negative when we allow potential negatives to distract us from our positive mission or goals. Despite the situation, always look for the good to overcome the challenges. For example; If you’ve been shot, at least you’re not dead. If there is smoke in the cabin of your aircraft, at least you’re still flying! History is full of countless stories where faith has allowed people to prevail over their challenges. I must admit, many times in my own life, I have looked at challenges that seemed to be impossible to overcome, but the possible was realized, by the grace of God!

May you identify in your life those areas where you need to have a healthy “conscious paranoia” mind-set! Remember there comes a point that all you can do are the right things, for the right reasons, with the right attitude and grow from your failures. Armed with lots of faith and scripture, all will be fine. Be assured you will make a positive difference!

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.