Walking the Talk

George Dom, commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels during the late 1980’s, has never seen levels of trust as low as they are now. The crisis of trust is vividly apparent to someone whose leadership/team experience meant those who inhabited his world personally came to work every day and literally put their lives in his hands. It was all about trust.

The platform of trust that enables a handful of individuals to perform precision aerobatic maneuvers in supersonic aircraft as little as two feet apart is built through training. It is grounded, however, in five core competencies established in each of them beforehand: character, commitment, competence, connection, and communication. These core competencies qualified them as candidates. Dom convinces us these are what we should pay attention to in the selection of any person we expect to lead.

Dom posits each competency as a qualifying question. “Does this person walk their talk?” elicits an assessment of character. If a person lives their values, keeps promises, honors commitments, and holds to truth we can answer yes to this first criteria of character to be a qualified leader. If we place trust where it isn’t warranted, are we blameless when outcomes disappoint? We, the team, choose our leader.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.”

—Heraclitus