Blue Angels ‘Boss’ Stresses Need for Debrief in Ops

Former Blue Angels leader Greg “Boss” Wooldridge underscored the importance of a debrief to foster a culture of excellence whether in a business aviation flight department or on a Blue Angels tour. Wooldridge, the only commander to lead the Blue Angels three times, provided insight on his time with the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron during a keynote speech at the 2017 Bombardier Safety Standdown.

In his discussion on “Soaring To Peak Performance,” Wooldridge called a debrief—in which the Blue Angels could discuss issues that came up during a show in an open, non-punitive manner—a “game-changer” in elevating performance. The debrief often took as long as, if not longer than, the briefing session that occurred before every show. “Too often, debrief has a bad name,” he said, noting that many people wince at it because it brings up what went wrong. But with the Blue Angels, it is an opportunity forreflection, commitment to fix issues and a time for either mentoring others or being mentored. Each discussion ended with the same theme: “Glad to be here.”


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