As the saying goes, a well-phrased question contains 80% of the answer. The same works for goals: a correctly formulated goal already contains the paths towards it and the methods to achieve it.
Life may require various behaviors of us. Nevertheless, I am confident that people who follow certain rules and abide by certain criteria in their personal and business affairs are more successful than those who don’t.
Rule #1. Honesty and integrity—this the starting point, in my opinion. Fulfilling all obligations under contracts, ensuring all appropriate payments are made to contractors and partners, and making sure all production and business processes are conducted in good faith.
It is worth emphasizing that this is especially important when working in aviation. Flight safety and punctuality are crucial to the aviation business, which makes it highly reliant on all contractors involved fulfilling their obligations to the letter.
I am sure not everyone will agree with the importance of this rule: after all, there are plenty of examples of businesspeople who are successful yet unscrupulous. But in my opinion, it is a bit like shopping in a supermarket: you can put as many items as you want in your trolley, and feel like you already own them, but you will still have to pass the checkout before you exit, and asked to pay. Sooner or later, the payment does become due, it’s only a matter of time.
The second rule is connected to the first. Rule #2 is punctuality and what we call accuracy in dealings between partners.
For a simple example, if you said that your plane would land at 12:00 and take off again at 13:00, that is exactly what must happen. A huge number of preceding and subsequent events are tied to this process: people need to show up for work by the time the plane arrives, they must service the plane, refuel it, and ensure it’s ready to take on the passengers and fly again. No one likes it when flights are delayed, do they?
Therefore, punctuality is a derivative of the first rule, but also a separate criteria on its own.
Rule #3. Self-discipline. This simply means that people involved in any business processes need to be organized and collected, so as to be able to make timely decisions, and hold negotiations and meetings effectively and efficiently.
Rule #4. Motivation and goal orientation.
A person can only be successful in business if they don’t need external incentives to act. In fact, this is true for most things in life: when a person wants something, they will strive towards it. It’s not going to work if they’re being forced. If a person motivates themselves, sets their own goals and relies on their previously mentioned qualities—consistency, punctuality and integrity—they will definitely reach their goal sooner than someone who wakes up and decides, “No, I’m going to sleep some more. I’m not going to work today, I’d rather relax. I’m my own boss, so I get to decide when to get up and where to go.” I strongly believe that people like this will be less successful.
Over the course of my life, I have taken part in various business processes, including construction, agriculture, legislature, and aviation.
The airport is a very good example of a success story. Ten years ago, no one believed me when I said, give me a year, and a new terminal will be in this spot. It was, essentially, a wreck, and almost nothing would fly out of it. I recall someone even bet me a crate of cognac that I would not be able to do it. Building everything up practically from scratch seemed an insurmountable task.
However, we designed the project, and then constructed the terminal over the course of 9 months, which included all permits and approvals. It was a colossal piece of work carried out by a large team!
Rule #5. Ability to work in a team. This applies to production teams as well as your relationships with business partners. The ability to work as a team relies on treating everyone as their own person, with their own interests, views and preferences—and finding compromises and balance between others’ interests and your own. This means making concessions, dedicating your time to negotiation and persuasion, and not falling to the temptation to pull rank and do things you way. This is a lifelong journey, learning to improve yourself to better communicate with others.
Which brings us to Rule #6: don’t take what happens in business, personally. It is a great defense. Because any misfortune in business brings valuable experience, even if it comes at a high cost. The only real misfortune is when someone is ill and suffering. Meanwhile, in business everything can be seen from multiple viewpoints, and any misfortune can open up new opportunities.
Finally, Rule #7. Never stop. Keep educating and improving yourself, find new interests and hobbies, move between different areas of business.
That said, when you move to a new activity, you need to immerse yourself in it completely. Study its specifics, its every detail. Without fully understanding the process, you cannot succeed, be it a new business or just a hobby.