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What is a Business Wingman

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In any public setting, the word “Wingman” brings up many assumed stereotypes, which all point to one thing (and let’s not sugarcoat this) …… your friend wants to get laid and you are the person chosen …

In any public setting, the word “Wingman” brings up many assumed stereotypes, which all point to one thing (and let’s not sugarcoat this) …… your friend wants to get laid and you are the person chosen to help him or her accomplish that. It seems a bit crude but that’s just the truth. Another common meaning of a Wingman is a meaning that is synonymous with the awesomely classic movie of the 80’s, Top Gun.

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  • 1.               Art  of  the  W ingman  for  Business  is  dedicated  to  the  businesswomen  and  businessmen  who  seek  greatness  beyond  their  own   and  find  their  successes  through  helping  others  succeed.  The  Business  Wingman  follows  the  path  of  the  selfless  person.     What  is  a  Business  Wingman?       Key  Points   • Self  define  your  role;  it’s  different  for  everyone   • Know  your  strengths  and  the  strengths  of  your  team   • There  is  only  one  mantra  to  follow,  “remain  selfless”     In  any  public  setting,  the  word  “Wingman”  brings  up  many  assumed  stereotypes,   which  all  point  to  one  thing  (and  let’s  not  sugarcoat  this)  ……  your  friend  wants  to   get  laid  and  you  are  the  person  chosen  to  help  him  or  her  accomplish  that.    It  seems   a  bit  crude  but  that’s  just  the  truth.  Another  common  meaning  of  a  Wingman  is  a   meaning  that  is  synonymous  with  the  awesomely  classic  movie  of  the  80’s,  Top  Gun.   Remember  Maverick  and  his  “Wingman”  Goose  along  with  Iceman  and  his   “Wingman”  Slider?         Top  Gun  (1986)       I  would  assume  that  in  90%  of  all  settings,  that  is  what  people  will  think  of  when   hearing  the  term  “wingman”.  Although  misguided,  we  should  remember  that  it’s  
  • 2. 2     important  to  self  define  your  role  as  the  Wingman  and  develop  your  own  set  of   Wingman  skills  within  your  team  or  your  group.  Don’t  let  someone  else  tell  you  who   you  are  and  who  you  should  be,  that  is  up  to  you  to  decide  and  demonstrate.  As   business  professionals  seeking  out  the  path  to  career  success,  let’s  just  put  that   definition  aside  and  assume  that  we  have  no  clue  what  it  means.  And  now  that  we   have  that  out  of  the  way,  let’s  get  down  to  business.       So,  what  is  a  Business  Wingman?  We  believe  (outside  the  standard  definitions),  that   there  is  no  clear  answer  to  this  but  a  relative  formula  to  what  makes  a  good   Wingman.  The  Wingman  is  usually  several  different  things  at  once  but  variable  in   behavior  depending  on  the  situation  and  the  audience.   The  Wingman  can  be  the  voice  of  reason.  The  Wingman  can  be  the  team  expert  in  a   certain  field.  The  Wingman  can  be  a  quiet  listener.  The  Wingman  can  be  the  bad  guy   who  makes  others  look  good.  The  Wingman  can  be  the  social  support  that  drives   projects  to  fruition.  The  Wingman  can  be  honest  to  his  friends,  but  can  be  a  liar   when  the  situation  demands  it.     In  short:     A  Wingman  is  anyone  who  selflessly  supports  others  into  and  around  any  social  or   business  situation,  and  cares  more  for  the  team’s  welfare  and  success  than  his/her   own.     That’s  the  start  of  it,  and  if  you  follow  this  one  rule  you’ll  be  fine.   According  to  Wikipedia:  The  traditional  military  definition  of  a  "Wingman"  refers  to   the  pattern  in  which  fighter  jets  fly.  There  is  always  a  lead  aircraft  and  another,   which  flies  off  the  right  wing  of  and  behind  the  lead.  This  second  pilot  is  called  the   "Wingman"  because  he  or  she  primarily  protects  the  lead  by  "watching  his  back."   Wikipedia  (Wingman)     This  is  also  a  great  definition  and  I  think  the  example  being  a  traditional  military   definition  is  well  suited  for  this;  basically  business  is  war.    And  to  add  an  additional   level  of  complexity  to  understanding  the  foundational  elements  of  a  Business   Wingman,  we  will  also  reference  StrengthsFinder  2.0  by  Clifton.  Clifton  does  a  great   job  of  defining  key  strengths  that  demonstrate  a  person’s  natural  talent.  Successful   Business  Wingman  will  have  taken  the  time  to  know  their  strengths  and  understand   where  those  strengths  fit  within  their  team.       Social  to  Business  Parallel     To  best  show  this  social  and  business  parallel,  below  are  5  elements  that  best   describe  the  essence  of  the  Business  Wingman  and  what  it  takes  to  be  one.       1)      Always  focusing  on  the  big  picture  relates  to  Strategic.  
  • 3. As  a  Business  Wingman,  its  important  to  take  the  Strategic  path  in  what  you  do.  It   means  that  you  are  one  that  is  able  to  sort  through  the  clutter  and  find  the  best   route.    It’s  a  trait  that  is  instinctive  and  not  learned.    You  think  differently  than  most   but  you  always  see  the  big  picture  even  when  the  focus  is  on  something  simple.  This   also  describes  Maverick  from  the  movie  Top  Gun.  Although  daring  and  a  loose   cannon,  there  was  a  method  to  his  madness  and  when  time  came  for  the  final   dogfight  scene,  Maverick  was  the  one  who  helped  his  team  win  the  battle.  He  acted   selflessly  and  the  team  prevailed.     2)      Wanting  to  be  a  part  of  a  greater  team  is  the  act  of  an  Includer.   As  a  Wingman,  you  are  always  looking  beyond  yourself  and  your  own  success  and   constantly  aiming  for  the  success  of  the  team.  From  the  Wikipedia  definition,  “There   is  always  a  lead  aircraft  and  another”,  relates  to  the  Clifton  definition  of  Includer.   Being  an  Includer  means  that  you  want  to  feel  part  of  a  group’s  philosophy  and  want   to  always  expand  on  that  groups  thinking.  As  it’s  also  not  about  your  actions  in  that   one  moment,  but  about  a  philosophy  around  which  you  orient  your  life.  After   Maverick  faced  his  fears  and  understood  what  it  meant  to  be  the  best,  he  knew  that   he  had  only  one  solution;  it  was  to  open  up  about  his  fears  and  include  his  actions   with  the  actions  of  the  group.  By  doing  this,  Maverick’s  actions  as  a  group,  led  them   to  win  the  dogfight  in  the  end.     3)      The  need  to  continuously  improve  is  a  trait  of  Learner.   Because  nothing  ever  stays  the  same  (your  environment,  your  team,  your  goals,   your  responsibilities,  your  projects,  etc),  you  must  stay  constantly  awake  and  willing   to  learn  how  to  take  on  your  next  challenge  as  a  Wingman.  Learn  and  adapt.  As  the   enabler,  you  are  the  key  to  team’s  success.     4)      Addiction  to  hard  work  is  similar  to  the  heart  of  an  Achiever.   As  the  saying  goes,  “when  the  going  gets  tough,  the  Wingman  get  going”.  You  want   the  team  to  win  and  you  know  what  type  of  work  ethic  it’s  going  to  take  to  succeed.   No  one  ever  said  it’s  going  to  be  easy,  but  as  the  Wingman,  you’re  always  up  for  the   challenge.  Maverick  struggled  throughout  the  movie  Top  Gun  because  he  lacked  one   thing  that  kept  him  from  being  #1;  he  lacked  what  Iceman  had,  the  drive  to  follow   the  path  to  success  and  achieve  a  team  victory.  But  as  Maverick  suffered  time  after   time,  he  was  forced  to  change  and  adopt  the  strengths  needed  to  be  the  best.  And   once  he  felt  that  sense  of  drive,  there  was  nothing  he  couldn’t  do.     5)      Looking  beyond  yourself  is  the  act  of  Selflessness.   Although  not  a  part  of  Clifton’s  34  strengths,  the  act  of  selflessness  in  a  Wingman   summarizes  everything  in  one  word.  It’s  the  mantra  that  drives  everything  else  that   is  important  about  being  a  Wingman.  Maverick  too  learned  in  the  end  that  being  the   best  wasn’t  just  about  him  (a  one  man  team);  it  was  about  the  team  and  what  the   team  could  accomplish  together.      
  • 4. 4       Top  Gun  (1986)     The  evolution  of  the  average  Businessperson  to  a  Business  Wingman  follows  the   path  of  the  Selfless  Man.  It’s  about  acting,  exhibiting,  motivating,  volunteering,   enabling  and  going  beyond  the  needs  of  oneself  in  order  to  sustain  the  interest  of   the  greater  team.     What  is  your  path  to  becoming  a  Business  Wingman?       Please  visit  our  blog  at  http://www.artofthewingman.com.