From The Mag

The Six Traits of Highly Successful DZOs

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Originally printed in issue #85 (January 2017) of Blue Skies Magazine.
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After nearly four years of working with DZOs from every size DZ, I have noted six distinct characteristics associated with a DZ’s health, both financially and culturally.

The six traits the most successful DZOs exhibit are:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Clear Vision
  3. Builds Strong Teams
  4. Focuses on the Big and Small Details
  5. Data Driven
  6. Thick Skinned

1. Self-Awareness

If a DZO is burnt out and mentally exhausted, then it’s a battle for that business to reach its potential. The success of a DZ is predicated by a DZO’s self-awareness to recognize mental exhaustion and to actively step away from their business to maintain needed objectivity to handle the strains of running a drop zone.

No one is immune from high levels of stress for extended periods of time. Stress kills the passion and attention to detail begins to fade, followed by a DZ’s culture.

The DZO is the life force, and that force needs to be positive and healthy for the operation to grow. Those with self-awareness understand this and take the necessary steps to maintain perspective.

2. A Clear Vision

The best DZOs have a vision for the organization clearly expressed as well as a list of core values shared with all.

This vision is shared from the DZO and is clearly defined. In other words, what is the moral compass for the operation? What is the modus operandi? What are the DZO’s expectations? Without a roadmap or guidepost, the journey will be rough.

When everyone shares a common goal and shared values, the organization is a more fulfilling place for all.

3. Builds a Strong Team

Too many DZOs have their hands in too many things. As a startup DZ, this can be good as it keeps expenses down, but as the business scales, a team must be created; otherwise, burnout is assured.

The best DZOs recognize that they can’t do it all and must build a team based on both skill and personality.

PD New Beginning

4. Focuses on the Big and Small Details

The best marketing begins when people arrive at a business, not just what you did to get them there.

DZOs who understand the value of creating an experience beyond the skydive generate a powerful marketing undercurrent. This is an investment into a business’ long-term survival and is something that DZ staff wants to be part of.

The best DZOs recognize that minute details create a great experience far beyond the skydive itself.

5. Data Driven

Numbers don’t lie, and the best DZOs know them inside and out—from the actual cost of a tandem to statistics on Google. Having a good grasp of the numbers allows a DZO to make sound decisions for the business.

6. Thick Skinned

Everyone has an opinion, and many aren’t afraid of expressing how a DZO should run a business. With thoughts, ideas and criticisms coming in from all sides, plus the financial strains of having to fix very expensive things, a DZO has to be very thick skinned to make it in this business.

Notice a Trend?

All of these traits combat a theme mentioned several times in this article: burnout. If I were to write a DZO handbook, it would highlight this issue much more. This topic is seldom talked about but is an issue that every skydiving operator must address if longevity is a desire.

Have questions? E-mail me!

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