4i Newsletter Masthead 511


Four i 511 Thunderbirds

I was borderline obsessed with Thunderbirds when I was a kid. I had Thunderbird curtains in my bedroom, Thunderbird PJs, and my toy box was crammed with everything from Thunderbird magazines to plastic models.

Recently, Thunderbirds have returned to my life via social media (and probably posting this will boost even more reels!), and I’ve noticed several lessons that this TV show of the 1960’s taught me that continue to add value today.

1. Keep Calm

Whilst Scott, Virgil and Gordon were frequently placed into the most stressful situations, the characters directing operations from HQ (Tracy Island), Jeff, John, Tintin and Brains, mostly retained calm, even relaxed, whatever the pressure (there were exceptions I acknowledge).

Panic in HQ doesn’t help those in the moment on the frontline.

2. Right people, right equipment

Only Scott piloted Thunderbird 1. Only Virgil Thunderbird 2. Only Gordon Thunderbird 4. Alan and John shared the solitary confinement of Thunderbird 5 space station, and Thunderbird 3 to get there and back.

Each character and their Thunderbird had specialist roles to play, rather than jack of all trades, the lesson is to be master of one.

3. No plan survives…

As Helmuth von Moltke, (my second favourite Prussian General put it so well), “No plan of operation extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength.” Weirdly, almost 150 years later, and despite no plan ever playing out as intended, people still are surprised that they don’t get the results that they seek without having to adapt and change.

Thunderbirds operations nearly always had setbacks, unforeseen difficulties, enemies who would reveal themselves after the rescue mission had commenced – but in every case they had the tools and equipment to address the new challenges, and most importantly, kept their focus on the desired result.

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