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The Blue Angels Never “Wing It”.

About 12 years ago, friends of mine were thrilled to learn that that their son, a Marine aviator had been selected for a two year duty in the Blue Angels, the prestigious Naval exhibition team. Known for their precision flying and jaw-dropping execution, the Blue Angel are without argument; world-class. Over the next two years I came to learn about the Blue Angels culture through my friends.    

What does building a great sales culture and the United States Navy’s Blue Angels team have in common?

For a start, roles on the Blue Angels team are highly coveted, the selection process is excruciating. How many sales organizations choose people they “think” can sell?   Blue Angels pilots are the absolute best and yet they undergo constant skill enhancement.  How many sales organizations fail to provide any meaningful on-going skills improvement for their managers, sellers and front-line employees? The Blue Angels work with a highly dedicated and equally well-trained support team; everyone knows the mission and goals and their roles.  How many organizations have an “us vs. them” culture; sales vs. finance, sales vs. marketing, sales vs. operations? Finally, the Blue Angel never, ever fly by the seat of their pants. They practice and drill, conduct simulations and role play constantly. Plus, pre-briefing and debriefing is sacred before and after every flight. How many sales organizations allow their sellers to go on a sales call and  wing it?

If you’re a sales leader, identify an organization you highly admire, observe the cultural attributes that make them great and determine how you can adapt a version of those attributes into your business.

 - John Martin

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