07 July 2023


Have you ever wondered? How an intelligent system takes over control to navigate an airplane, marine or space craft through its trajectory. I am not going to attempt to analyse the complexity of science behind such an intricate structure.

I am not an aeronautical engineer therefore I will focus on a conceptual analogy which represents a corporate management style similar to that of an Autopilot.

Yet before we start let me briefly touch base on the information gathering capability of these elaborate mechanisms. It is acknowledged that today’s modern airplanes are equipped with more than 25,000 sensors. Every single piece of apparatus reports back status, external conditions, healthiness and their wellbeing. Flight Management System having received this vast amount of data determines the actions for a smoother journey. Sounds so simple however the pilot’s intervention plays a vital role at take offs and landings. Considering human interaction is a priority in case of emergencies. Algorithms that run, back ground tasks are key ingredients of making sure all supervision is performed instantly. Every operational detail is documented, tested and validated.

You may have been matured in a collaborated, collective company. Or you are an entrepreneur trying to understand what it takes to cross the hot sand like the Caretta Caretta baby turtles trying desperately to reach open sees.

Let’s have a deep dive to case number1. Recently buzz words keep popping up positioned as lifesaving instruments for an ailing organisation. These traditional enterprises have one critical aspect in common. They have designed and implemented procedures painstakingly. Rules & Regulations written on countless, innumerable pages of documents. The size of the endeavour depends on the breath of material that occupies digital space on storage discs. The amount of volume occupied by these rules is directly correlated to the greatness of the company. Every nitty gritty element has a definition, including how to behave under certain conditions. You don’t have to worry. It is no longer cumbersome to retrieve what might interest or irritate you. Automation makes it easy to access and receive the results within seconds.

Well so far so good. Imagine being assigned to an executive post to such a typical environment. Wouldn’t it be rather convenient, straight forward to manage business as usual? Why bother, ride smoothly, enjoy, it sounds like a child’s play. Suggest minor improvements, impress and steal the hearth share of employees. Since all is prescribed to cover every single aspect, why not? Push the Autopilot button.

I believe this will be the most preferred approach expected from you by middle management as well. No hard questions to be analysed and highlighted. Habits are already shaped around the procedures. Trying to cross borders will be resisted gently at the beginning. Each time a more ambitious change maker scheme is proposed, behaviours strenuous level rises.

-       What if we touch this issue in a more precise manner that will have an impact on productivity and efficiency? You may ask.

-       Yes but the team is not trained as such and the systems have to be reprogrammed to handle this option. It may cost us more than the gain we envision.

-       Don’t rock the boat Sir. We are on Autopilot we will get to where we intended soon enough.

I can hear many other reasons and comments that you have in your memories.

Leadership is understanding demography and the concept of the game field. Newness is a sensitive topic. Extreme confidence will create trust gabs and likelihood of disbelief. Sell your story internally with a sound prediction. Alignment at every level and platform is usually overlooked. Purpose has to be linked all the way to the remote points of presence. Here are some thoughts…

1-Architect a structure for the future and do not dwell on the past mistakes and differences.

2-Set expectations delicately, so nobody feels non inclusive. Confidence builds as positive results reverberate throughout the ecosystem.

3-Rigorously determine the targets. Announce objectives slightly above the assumptions. Thus acceptance and motivation builds up.

4-Prudently insert innovative leaders to the existing team. Always in pairs to be able to face challenges that will be thrown to their path.

5-Do not bite the rock solid processes, you may end up with a tooth missing. Explain arguments to soften practices to gain speed at decision making junctions.

These are just a few suggestions to reclaim flight control. It does not mean that all the functions has to be withdrawn from Autopilot. Please do not fall into the control freak trap. You have to rely on all the data presented to you. Just rest assured for the reliability of the knowledge gathered and analysed.

Manual drive is fun, yet it is fragile and consumes more power.

An Elegant and delightful expedition is in your mind and hands.

Best of luck

İcrayı San’at Eyle

I shall address the baby turtles in the next article.