High Performance in Action
John Foley has spent nearly a decade sharing practical and inspirational messages on high performance with audiences around the world. The former lead solo pilot for the famed Blue Angels flight-demonstration squadron is among the most sought after conference speakers, presenting keynote messages at more than 100 events a year.
He also is the founder and CEO of CenterPoint Companies, which provides in-depth training on the “how” of high performance. John is also the founder of the Glad To Be Here Foundation, a giving-forward program donates to worthy charities.
John’s personal path to high performance began as a child, when he stood alongside his father at an air show featuring the Blue Angels. From that moment, John knew deep in his heart that someday he’d be carving up the skies as a member of the Blues. He lived that dream, but getting there wasn’t easy. John’s journey from an awe-struck child at an air show to the cockpit of the Blue Angels’ F/A-18 Hornet is a study in persistence, hard work, and the will to overcome obstacles and setbacks.
Those ideals fit within three overriding traits that mark John’s presentations: First, a contagious attitude of thankfulness that he calls “Glad To Be Here;” second, an energizing delivery that inspires high performance and service to others; and, third, a practical model for living out his message that works in other organizations as well as it works for the Blue Angels.
The model and the message are byproducts of John’s ongoing pursuit of continuous improvement. As a Blue Angel, John was part of a team that consistently performed in intense, high-stakes environments. With thousands of hours as a carrier pilot and hundreds of hours as an instructor pilot, John was an elite aviator when he joined the Blues. To perform with this team, though – flying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour and in formations as close as 18 inches from his teammates – John had to improve his performance by 300 percent!
John’s post-Navy experiences as a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and as an entrepreneur put him in a unique position to reverse-engineer the culture of team excellence found in the Blue Angels and create a model that helps others on their own journeys.
“What I learned most from being with the Blue Angels had nothing to do with flying itself,” John says. “I learned that the process of engaging at this high level – when my very life depended on successful communication, accurate information, trust, and follow-through – is the same process leaders and successful individuals use to achieve excellence.”
John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also was a defensive back for the Midshipmen, playing in two bowl games and helping Navy to one of the best four-year records in its football history. As a pilot, John was a “Top Ten Carrier Pilot” six times before becoming a Marine instructor pilot and a Blue Angel. He holds master’s degrees in business management, from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (as a Sloan Fellow); in international policy studies, from Stanford University; and in strategic studies, from the Naval War College.
High Performance is a mindset, a process and a state of being that accelerates everyday achievement. Individuals and teams that embrace High Performance begin a journey toward excellence and elevated execution that has the power to carry them beyond their dreams.
People often operate at the level of their belief. When we raise the level of that belief, performance will follow. A simple self-reflection on limiting and liberating beliefs can create new alignment and precision in individuals and teams.
The Blue Angel’s air show is built on a foundation of trust. Picture this: two jets, collision course, 1000mph closure, and you’re goal is to miss the other jet by a wingspan. An extreme trust makes that maneuver possible, and when that relationship is transposed onto the world of business, the results are incredible.
Blue Angel precision is built on a solid foundation of teamwork. Every team member, from the crews on the ground to the pilots in the air, is held to the exact same standards of excellence. Unified alignment collapses barriers, and creates a powerful culture of action.
CenterPoint (Finding a CenterPoint)
A CenterPoint is a single idea or point in space toward which action is centered. Finding a CenterPoint amplifies the effect of team effort. Focused action outperforms solitary efforts.
In the digital age, innovation surrounds us. And engaging with advances mid-stream requires a unique mindset. How do you fly the jet and innovate it at the same time? And once you’ve arrived, how do you sustain that change?
The Blue Angel approach to leadership inspires trust through confidence, but remains open to criticism and communication. Character, authenticity, compassion, strength, trust: the Blues’ performance flows from powerful leadership.
Seize The Day
Connect and inspire your people to the POWER of Teamwork, and the potential in opportunity. John takes you through an experience of a lifetime, highlighting the very practical and tangible steps required to build and sustain a culture of excellence. There is power in this keynote for those organizations needing to integrate and sustain high achievements. Listen to one of John’s favorite stories: The day that he flew an F/18 beyond its limits, higher and faster than he had ever flown. John learned an important lesson about seizing opportunities when they arise. He also learned a deeper lesson about the value of being supported by an awesome team of dedicated people.