During the mid-1950s, the United States government developed the F-105 fighter jet in an effort to control the air space over Vietnam.
The bomber, commonly referred to as the "Thud" by its pilots, could fly at supersonic speed with extended range, all while carrying heavy bombs. These three features were deemed critical to winning the war by the U.S. Department of Defense.
But as the pilots flew their missions, they quickly discovered that though their planes may have had these features, they didn't actually work in unison. They were instead entirely independent, serving different roles.
There is an adage in business for making money: You can either raise the bridge or lower the river.
In simpler terms, you can either increase revenue or cut costs. Often, this approach works for the short term — but until a company adds a third component, it will never really sustain success.
Fred Smith, the founding father of FedEx, decided to add that often-missing third component to make his: PEOPLE-SERVICE-PROFIT.
He felt all were essential for his company's success.
"We are in the service business," he said. "How can we deliver world-class service without world-class people?"
It might take time to get them in the correct order, but declaring our own critical elements of a comprehensive strategy is always essential.
We must completely understand the three areas in our business and personal lives that need to work independently and in unison. A failure to do so will always hinder progress and prevent us from achieving our goals, much like the capable but flawed F-105.
Let's ask ourselves today: What are our personal three? If we teach, lead or work in business, how do they apply to our profession?
Establishing perfect alignment within our team will always first require having individuals who are perfectly aligned.