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A Hard Lesson In Life and Leadership

Last updated Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:17 ET

Inspirational speaker and pilot Jeff "Odie" Espenship reflects inward after losing his brother in a plane crash.

Atlanta, USA, 01/28/2012 / SubmitMyPR /

Renowned speaker, author, and founder of Target Leadership Jeff “Odie” Espenship will share lessons in life and leadership at the Rail Safety Summit Conference in Loughborough, UK on April 12, 2012. In attendance will be rail safety managers, infrastructure owners, rail stakeholders and training professionals who will hear the importance of creating a ZERO accident culture in the workplace.

Odie, a former US Air Force fighter pilot lost his brother, Johnny, in a tragic plane crash. The accident investigation revealed Johnny may have taken a short cut, the same short cut he saw Odie take just six months previous. Odie reflects inward and asks himself a hard question, “Did my actions on a prior job possibly influence my brother’s action on a future job?” In essence, short cuts show others how to break the rules and still live. Eventually, our luck runs out, and the results are often grave. Odie shares how leaders influence the future behaviors, thought patterns, perceptions, even values of those around them, often without realizing their true impact. “What is going to be your legacy?” he asks.

The work in the rail industry, as in aviation, is very dangerous, but is made safe by Target Leader’s setting high expectations, monitoring performance, and adherence to the rules. Odie shares, “It’s not the big things that hurt us, it’s the little things - the silent killers like complacency, short cuts, distractions, poor focus, and pressures to perform (get it done).” Good intentions mixed with perceived operational or personal pressures push many operators into doing something dumb, dangerous, or different. We cannot rely on luck to pull ourselves out of a situation we behaved our way into. It is always better to spend a few seconds of your life doing it right, otherwise you may lose your life in a few seconds doing it wrong.