CEO decision-making can be a lot like paragliding

Jackson Hole Paragliding

Have you ever jumped off a mountain tethered to a piece of fabric? Tandem paragliding has a lot in common with business ownership.  If you have launched your own business, or have bought a business, or have made a decision to redirect, or turnaround, or chart a new course for your business, you can understand the parallel.

First off, you cannot do it alone.  In the case of paragliding, you hire a licensed pilot to take you aloft.  In business, you align with competent professionals like a banker, a lawyer, an accountant, and/or a business coach.

If you are paragliding for the first time, there is some level of uncertainty and fear.  However, your pilot explains that all you need do initially is simply take a few steps down the incline of the mountain.  In launching a new business or a new direction, you already know some of the first steps – creating a plan, or selling your idea, or recruiting support.  You simply need to put them together in a new configuration.

In paragliding, you launch into the wind.  Depending on wind speed your first “steps” may actually be backwards.  But your pilot explains that’s not unusual and you simply recover and proceed with the forward steps and the successful launch.  Similarly in business, there are often a few backward steps when launching a new initiative.  But your preparation and sound advice from professionals allow you to recover and resume the forward motion.

One big difference between paragliding and setting a new business course is post-launch.  As soon as you are airborne paragliding, you are able to relax and enjoy the silence and the view as you soar out over the canyon.  In business, after the launch, you need to keep running as though your life depended on it – because it does.  The good news is that, despite requiring ongoing effort, the ride can be just as thrilling.

Launching?  Connect yourself to good support.  Calm yourself with the realization that you already know many of the steps.  Be prepared for a few steps backward, depending on the strength of the headwinds.  And run as though your life depended on it, in order that you might soar!

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