About the Talk
To fly a balloon around the world is no simple feat. Some may say that it depends entirely on luck. It doesn't. In ballooning, as in business, you create your own luck. You use your knowledge, skills, imagination and expertise to exploit the opportunities presented to you. Certainly you need to plan, but you must also respond rapidly and flexibly when unexpected challenges arise.
If the winds and weather that carried Breitling Orbiter 3 around the world are a vivid metaphor for the global business environment, then the Orbiter team and its two pilots are the epitome of the successful business team.
During my talk, the audience will draw on the strong parallels between my adventure and how their enterprise, and the teams within it, must operate in their chosen fields to achieve their goals. I speak from experience of both sides of the Breitling Orbiter endeavour. As project manager, I was acutely aware of the importance of careful planning, motivating the team and of getting things right first time - after all, many of the balloon's systems could only be tested after take-off! Then, as a pilot on the journey itself, I was called upon to show personal courage, determination and ingenuity, often in situations over which I had no direct control.
Bertrand and I are often referred to as heroes. Well, that's as maybe. But I will emphasise that it is the whole team that matters. I will highlight the contributions of the unsung heroes of the Breitling Orbiter team - like the meteorologists who, working with an innate understanding of their subject, made the crucial recommendation to take the balloon on a never before attempted southern route across the Pacific Ocean. In these circumstances it is not only expertise that matters, but trust.