“Way over the top” was my first impression of Peak Business Performance Under Pressure: A Navy Ace Shows How to Make Great Decisions in the Heat of Business Battle by Bill Driscoll and Peter Joffre Nye (Allworth Press, 210 pp., $19.95). The length of the title alone overwhelmed me. And then a flood of endorsements by admirals and a rousing blessing in the Forward by Sen. John McCain further wowed me. The wealth of hoopla turns out to be justified.
Driscoll presents an inspirational blend of personal experience and advice from others in offering his formula on how to be a successful executive leader. And he does it with boundless enthusiasm.
The blend includes his experiences from a forty-year association with the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and twenty-six years of selling real estate, along with interviews with more than 200 senior executives and twenty-six Ace fighter pilots.
Along with Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Driscoll became an Ace while flying 170 Navy F-4 Phantom missions in the Vietnam War. Driscoll opens the book with an account of his final mission in which his crew destroyed three MIGs before being shot down by a surface-to-air missile. That success had created momentary complacency that nearly killed the crew. The remainder of the book presents similar lessons.
Driscoll’s “Peak Performance” goal is winning every time. His credo for cockpit or boardroom is: “The day you stop wanting to be better is the day you stop being good.”
Success in any endeavor requires a person to “follow every element of the Peak Performance Formula, every day, ” Driscoll says. Each element has its own chapter. The lessons contain steps to maximize success.
Each chapter ends with a probing question-and-answer “debrief, ” much like what follows a combat mission.
Overall, the text is to the point and personalized so that the reader easily becomes involved in the discussion. At the same time, the book resembles a training manual because it is interspersed with facts and advice that parallel the topic at hand.
You don’t have to be seeking success in business to benefit from reading this book. Driscoll provides suggestions for behavior that can enhance just about anyone’s everyday life. Although highly zealous, he recognizes when enough is enough and helps the reader to do the same.
The author’s web site is www.willydriscoll.com