Welcome to the official launch of the Aviation Innovation Podcast, hosted by Eugene Hoeven! The show will interview the movers and shakers in the business today, the pioneers of yesterday, and bring you the stories of the innovators and entrepreneurs in our aviation industry.
Learn of the innovations and emergent technologies affecting aviation and air transport, the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship in our sector, as well as the strategies and tactics for success.
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What to do, not how to do is the central question for leaders
In these rapidly changing times brought on by digitalization, deciding “what to do” is ever more important than determining “how to do” it. And, deciding “what not to do” is perhaps most important of all.
In my conversations with executives, there is always the eagerness to learn how I can help them to get more clients, to grow the business, to make it more efficient, innovative and agile,…. to improve business performance.
These are all perfectly reasonable business outcomes. We all want greater success, and quickly. But then the discussion very quickly jumps to “how will you do that” for us? It is the wrong question and expectation.
You see, the starting point must always be to first determine the objectives that will help you achieve the business outcomes you want. It is first and foremost about getting focused on those few, but very important things what will make the biggest difference for your business – “the what”. How this will be achieved is secondary and always contingent upon objectives.
As the saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there,” and this is nowhere. “What to do” is the central question to productivity and effectiveness – to getting to where you need to go.
The journey to your destination requires you to make judgements and assumptions about the market and your firm. It is like assessing the terrain and state of your car before you venture out on your journey.
In other words, questions like: What does the market – and specifically, the consumer – really want and value?
Importantly, this should to some extent be anticipative – oftentimes the customer does not really know what he wants, at least not yet. This may not always be self-evident, and requires adopting a mindset of inquiry and design-thinking in an iterative approach.
It was not until Steve Jobs discovered and articulated what the consumer valued most was simplicity and ease-of-use of a PC that things really turned around for Apple, thereby defining an entirely new market.
From this initial point of inquiry comes a second: What should be the firm’s role in this new reality? Why does it exist? In other words, what should be its mission?
Mission statements can and do change over time in order to stay relevant and impactful. A clear sense of mission is essential for employees to believe in their company, its purpose and the value it is meant to create for the benefit of society.
Tesla’s mission statement – “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” – hits the mark.
And finally, what competencies and capabilities must continue to be developed and invested in, in order to deliver on the mission and be competitive in the marketplace?
At its core, what sets the company apart? What is it known for to do really well, and how can it become even better?
Nike’s core competencies exist in their effective marketing strategies and innovative product design, two elements that provide much value to consumers. These competencies are not easily imitated and are leveraged to a wide variety of products and markets.
Determining the “what” for the business is not easy, especially when one is in the thick of things, managing the business – the daily grind. It requires one to step back from the day-to-day, to reflect, to question, to ponder, to debate, to test,….
It requires one to (temporarily) jump off the merry-go-round, adopt a “from the outside in” perspective, and formulate your assumptions and hypotheses before jumping back on.
Importantly – society, markets, consumers, technology change all the time, and at an increasingly accelerating pace. This means that your assumptions must continually be tested and validated, and change over time, or they risk becoming obsolete and invalid to the detriment of the firm.
Having a thinking partner can be immensely valuable in this process – to question your assumptions and test your hypotheses. To help you crystallize “what to do” and “what not to do.” It is the critical first step before determining “how to do”. When you know where you are going, how to get there is a relatively straightforward task.
Throughout my career, I have protected and enhanced corporate reputations, saved or avoided millions for the organisations I’ve worked for and billions for the industries I’ve represented, and driven growth and profitability. All this was achieved by having a clear vision and setting objectives that support the business results we wanted.
If you need a thinking partner to help you determine what you need to do, get in touch with me.
Read Time: < 1minuteDo you remember when you first learned how to ride a bike? I do….
I was almost 10 years old and most of my friends were already pros on the 2-wheeler. I did not have a bike with training wheels (long story) and kept falling over and hurting myself. It was a painful experience and I was afraid to keep trying.
Until one day my aunt insisted I give it another try. She gave me a hard push and told me to pedal hard. I did, and I kept moving!
It was a most exhilarating feeling. I was going faster than I had ever gone before. Wind in my face, passing people by, and going further than I had ever gone. Seeing new and unfamiliar places.
I was experiencing freedom and independence.
I even discovered that to slow down and stop without falling over, all I had to do was put out my two feet on the pavement until I came to a halt. I had mastered riding a bike in that one afternoon.
Now, I did fall on occasion, but that was because I broke the cardinal rule – pedal fast!
And so it is in life and in business. We must keep pedaling and moving.
In a rapidly changing world we must continually adapt and innovate to stay relevant.
We must engage in a continuous cycle of experimentation, learn from our successes and failures, and apply new-found knowledge and insight to the next round of innovation, and do so with speed.
From this comes stability and resiliance.
Albert Einstein had it right when he said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
Indeed, if you stand still, you will fall over and hurt yourself.
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“I’ve known Eugene Hoeven from when NAV CANADA was created in 1996, and he represented the airline industry in the establishment of the service charges regime as the sole source of funding for the company. His leadership in bringing together the user community to focus on cost effective services and flight efficiencies helped lay the foundation for NAV CANADA to become one of the world’s most respected air navigation services providers. I was therefore only too happy to see Eugene move on to CANSO to represent the air navigation services industry at ICAO, where he continuously enhanced its reputation and influence in the international aviation community.”
Neil R. Wilson
President and CEO, NAV CANADA
“I have had the good fortune to work with Eugene Hoeven when he was with CANSO and the air traffic management (ATM) industry was grappling with what to do about the looming cyber threats and risks. Eugene quickly assembled a team of industry players to establish CANSO’s ATM Security Workgroup (ASWG) and within 6 months published the CANSO Cyber Security Risk Assessment Guide, which was well-received and highly praised as a resource for organizations on the practical steps they should take to develop resiliency in cyber security. Throughout the process, Eugene exhibited vision and leadership that resulted in the successful delivery of the project.”
Vice President, Cyber Programs, The Raytheon Company
“Eugene Hoeven is a strategic thinker and natural connector, and has been of great help in getting Unifly in front of decision-makers who require an unmanned traffic management (UTM) solution to safely integrate drones into the airspace. During the term of our engagement, Eugene advocated on our behalf and supported us in building an ecosystem of stakeholders with an interest in UTM – including Transport Canada, NAV CANADA, drone operators and other solutions and service providers. This ultimately positioned Unifly as a preferred technology partner to provide the UTM platform on behalf of NAV CANADA.”
“SADC has retained the services of EH&A for our business development activities in Canada to help grow the aerospace, MRO and logistics cluster for the Amsterdam Airport Area. Throughout this process, Eugene Hoeven has shown to be very responsive and supportive of our efforts – a natural connector and facilitator – that has resulted in a number of new relationships and leads for direct investment in the Netherlands.”
Jeanet van Antwerpen, CEO
SADC (Schiphol Area Development Company N.V.)
My views and opinions may provide you the outsider view you are looking for in addressing the challenges you face. Let’s have a discussion to explore how we can work together.