but it’s time to buzz the tower.”
My family has always had a fascination for the movie Top Gun. Admittedly, the closest I ever got to an F-14 was when one of them was refueling behind my KC-135 tanker. But we always loved the movie. My children were oft times forced, against their will, to watch the show again and again. My nephew, who as a teenager, literally wore out a pirated VCR copy of the movie, went on to be a great F-15 fighter pilot, skilled in the art of basic fighter maneuvering (or dogfighting). He actually got a chance to fly a dissimilar air combat mission against the skipper of Top Gun school and fought the real “Viper” to a draw. So everyone in my family knew nearly all the words to the Top Gun script. I am guessing that our family experience is not unique, and there are several generations of post boomer, pre-millenials who are devotees of the movie.
In my family nearly all the tough mysteries of life can be distilled down and answered by a Top Gun quote. Family favorites include:
- “Gutsiest move I ever saw Mav”. This line is offered in response to a daring decision by a family member often times when making a left turn across traffic.
- “Its time to buzz the tower Goose” The patent statement when confidently embarking on some adventure or celebration or when about to do something edgy or risky.
- “Talk to me Goose,” We utter this statement when seeking advice or giving counsel.
- “Maybe I could be a truck driver, you still got the number of that truck-driving school?” A quote often given when someone in the family has made a mistake in their work or is dissatisfied with their current job.
- “I’m turning in my wings, I’ve lost the edge” This is a response to lack of motivation for any task at hand or a desire to quit what one is doing.
Yes, I could go on forever and perhaps you could too.
Yet I still believe whether one was drawn to Top Gun for the handsome stars, the flying scenes or the romance, the portrayal of the lives of F-14 fighter crew can teach many lessons about what it takes to be successful, high achieving leader who generates cutting edge performance from every member of her team.
In the next few weeks, hang with me as I begin a series of Top Gun leadership vignettes, and explore what we can learn about leadership, organizational management and motivation from Top Gun.
So “Sit down, and strap in because, “Its time to buzz the tower Goose.”