Monday, June 16, 2014

The Secret to Professional Success

Over three hundred people made reservations to attend the Chamber of Commerce annual awards meeting. Many brought friends and family members because the keynote speaker scheduled for this event was a wealthy executive who promised to share The Secret to Professional Success.   

Even though the luncheon started at noon, by 11:45 a.m. all the chairs and tables in the large banquet room at the Hyatt Hotel were full. As it neared 12:00 p.m., the attendees noticed the featured speaker had not entered the room and was not yet seated at the head table. 

Lunch was promptly served at noon and still there was no speaker at the head table. As the dessert was served many wondered where the speaker could be? Conversations soon began to take place at the various tables. All of a sudden a voice from somewhere in the back of the room yelled out, "Shut up!"

The crowd immediately drew quiet.  Everyone looked around but saw no one so they went back to their desserts and their table conversations.  Soon the same voice shouted,  “SHUT UP!

Stunned, the entire room became dead silent and everyone sat quietly and sipped on their coffee.  However after a few minutes, again the din of their conversations filled the room.  "SHUT UP," the voice barked again; however this time a diminutive well-dressed man entered the room from a back door and walked slowly to the front of the room and stood behind the podium.

Once behind the podium, he leaned into the microphone and said, “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  I am your speaker.  I understand many of you are here this afternoon to learn the most 'powerful' secret to professional success.

I assure you the secret I will share with you this afternoon will help you tremendously in becoming a great success in your profession whether it be in business or government. 

The secret is simple and every great person understands; however most people find it difficult to employ. For the record, I have already shared this secret with you and I have shared it with you three times.  The secret I am referring to is to Shut Up.

When you Shut Up and let other people talk, you learn.  You hear their problems, you learn their dreams and you understand their concerns. When you Shut Up, you discover ways you can be of value to others and when you Shut Up you can learn ways to help others.  When you Shut Up, you begin to have professional success no matter what endeavor you pursue or what role you play in your organization.

So my advice to all of you if you want to be a success - Shut Up and Listen."

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Flight To Remember

The picture of the C-130A Hercules below was the 126th C-130 aircraft built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation of Marietta, Georgia. It was accepted into the Air Force inventory on August 23, 1957. 

On November 2, 1972, this aircraft was given to the South Vietnamese Government (Air Force) as part of the US Military Assistance Program.

On April 29, 1975, this C-130 was the last aircraft to fly out of South Vietnam before Saigon fell. As over 100 aircraft laid destroyed on the flight line at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, some of them still burning, this was the last flyable C-130 remaining on the Air Base. In a very panicked state, hundreds of people rushed to get aboard it, as this aircraft represented their only option to freedom.

People hurriedly crowded into this aircraft, packing in it tighter and tighter. Eventually, the load master informed the pilot, Major Phuong, a South Vietnamese instructor pilot, that he could not get the rear ramp doors closed due to the number of people who were standing on it. In a moment of inspiration, Major Phuong began to taxi the aircraft forward, slow at first - then faster.  All of a suddenly he slammed on the brakes. The load master immediately called forward stating he had just successfully closed the rear ramp doors.

In all, 452 people were able to get on board this aircraft, 32 of them had to crowd in the cockpit. US Air Force officials, using a conservative estimate of 100 pounds per person, believe this aircraft was overloaded by at least 10,000 pounds. Consequently, this C-130 had to use every bit of the runway and even the entire overrun before it was able to get lift and go airborne.

It's destination was Bangkok, Thailand, which should have been an easy 1 hour and 20 minute flight, but after an hour and a half, the aircraft was still lumbering over the Gulf of Slam and running low on fuel. A map on the aircraft was located and the crew was able to identify some terrain features and were thus able to navigate by sight and land the plane at Utapao, Air Base, Thailand, after a three and a half hour flight.

Ground personnel on Utapao Air Base were shocked at what "fell out" when they opened the aircraft doors. It was clear to everyone observing that a longer flight would have resulted in significant loss of life for many of the passengers. In the end, however, all 452 evacuees on this plane made it to freedom aboard this historic C-130.

The aircraft was reclaimed by the United States Air Force over the next 14 years and assigned to two different Air National Guard units. 

On June 28, 1989, this aircraft made its final flight. It flew to Arkansas where it sits today placed on permanent display for all to see.