Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by B208 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:56 pm

Rockie wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:59 pm
Tough question Outlaw. Given that this is a book about striving for goals what do you think Chris Hadfield would say to you if you were talking to him right now, be a 0 or be a +1? Filling up space or adding value?
I think he'd tell you not to be an asshole. Given that he is much more eloquent than I am, he'd probably say it in such a way that you would thank him for the advice.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Skyhunter » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:04 pm

Pelmet, I am neither a Rockie advocate or detractor, but in all fairness, where did Rockie say Chris was arrogant. I read through twice and don't see him saying that. I have missed things before so maybe I am just too tired after a red eye last night, but I don't believe Rockie said that at all.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Outlaw58 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:50 pm

Rockie wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:59 pm
+1 adds value according to Hadfield. Can't argue with that.

Zero does not add value nor does it take value away. It's just there.

-1 takes value away.

Aim for zero means don't proclaim yourself as a +1 or you'll automatically be seen as arrogant and a -1. But actually be a +1 and people will recognize it. He's pretty clear about that if you're into context at all.

Tough question Outlaw. Given that this is a book about striving for goals what do you think Chris Hadfield would say to you if you were talking to him right now, be a 0 or be a +1? Filling up space or adding value?

Is it possible you and others have misinterpreted the title of a chapter to mean Hadfield thinks all anybody should aim for is neutral?
Beside the point I have met and spoken with Chris Hadfield although it was before the book and before his 6 month mission to the space station.

Back to the point, please please read the book if you insist on commenting it here.

He means exactly what he says: Aim to be a zero! To be a zero means doing what is expected of you and most importantly doing it without mistakes that other team members would have to cover for. That's what he means by cost neutral. Sometimes, people's eagerness to be an asset to any team will lead them to want to do more than what is expected of them.... too often at the expense of doing their own job properly, making them a -1 in their teams' eyes. Aim to be a zero...do your job and concentrate on doing it well without mistakes. When you do that...THEN you will be seen as a +1

Oh and also...read the damn book!

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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Rockie » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:23 pm

Read the book...and unlike some here I understood it. Anybody want to address my questions about -1 / 0 / +1?

Pelmet. Where do I say, or imply that I think Hatfield is arrogant? I think your irrational dislike of me is making you see things that aren’t there.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by GyvAir » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:40 pm

I haven't read the book, but I did watch the movie:



I was in a Humane Society kennel the other night. I think the dogs in there were engaged in a more coherent and considered conversation than what this thread became.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by PilotDAR » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:21 pm

I was the kid who built a flight simulator out of a few cardboard boxes on the lawn ('come to think of it, its demise was aging aircraft, not a crash, I guess I did okay!). I loved to fly, but never really thought I was particularly good at it. I was just so happy to be given the use of someone's plane in my teens, that I aimed to be a zero, and simply return it in the condition it was lent. It worked. I knew I was not a plus one, and I never had the nerve to pretend I was, I just slinked around the airport learning what I could, and cleaning what owners would let me clean. I was not a plus one.

But in hindsight, I must have been a plus 0.3, and in the company of some 0.2's, because people with planes were willing to lend them to me, and soon after, asking me to crew them. I think somewhere along the line, while the 0.2's were growing to be 0.3's, I must have blundered into a 0.4, 'cause I was given some pretty interesting tasks flying planes. A few 0.9's I admired ceased flying for various reasons, and I guess my 0.4 was good enough to take over what they had started.

Now, I'm delighted to look at my senior years as a pilot as maybe a 0.1, just fly for myself, and get the thing home safely, that'll do. I'll leave the fighting for plus one ness to the pilots who present themselves in all capitals! I have learned that I don't need to be a plus one, and I have nothing to prove in life now. The people with the really interesting jobs in flying, or anything else, are just looking for the person who's a solid 0.1 better than the rest of the crowd (who might really be -0.1's). To be seen as 0.1 better, you just have to be safe, conscientious, and not annoy your seniors and employer. Maybe you were already seen as a 0.9, and that last 0.1 makes you a plus one, but don't try to tell anyone that - just be happy someone lets you fly their plane!
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by B208 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:55 pm

PilotDAR wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:21 pm
I was the kid who built a flight simulator out of a few cardboard boxes on the lawn ('come to think of it, its demise was aging aircraft, not a crash, I guess I did okay!). I loved to fly, but never really thought I was particularly good at it. I was just so happy to be given the use of someone's plane in my teens, that I aimed to be a zero, and simply return it in the condition it was lent. It worked. I knew I was not a plus one, and I never had the nerve to pretend I was, I just slinked around the airport learning what I could, and cleaning what owners would let me clean. I was not a plus one.

But in hindsight, I must have been a plus 0.3, and in the company of some 0.2's, because people with planes were willing to lend them to me, and soon after, asking me to crew them. I think somewhere along the line, while the 0.2's were growing to be 0.3's, I must have blundered into a 0.4, 'cause I was given some pretty interesting tasks flying planes. A few 0.9's I admired ceased flying for various reasons, and I guess my 0.4 was good enough to take over what they had started.

Now, I'm delighted to look at my senior years as a pilot as maybe a 0.1, just fly for myself, and get the thing home safely, that'll do. I'll leave the fighting for plus one ness to the pilots who present themselves in all capitals! I have learned that I don't need to be a plus one, and I have nothing to prove in life now. The people with the really interesting jobs in flying, or anything else, are just looking for the person who's a solid 0.1 better than the rest of the crowd (who might really be -0.1's). To be seen as 0.1 better, you just have to be safe, conscientious, and not annoy your seniors and employer. Maybe you were already seen as a 0.9, and that last 0.1 makes you a plus one, but don't try to tell anyone that - just be happy someone lets you fly their plane!
You're a plus one in my books.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Outlaw58 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:10 pm

Rockie wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:23 pm
Read the book...and unlike some here I understood it. Anybody want to address my questions about -1 / 0 / +1?
I think he'd say it's more important to not be the -1 than to be the +1 and go from there.

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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by pelmet » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:32 am

Rockie wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:23 pm
Read the book...and unlike some here I understood it. Anybody want to address my questions about -1 / 0 / +1?

Pelmet. Where do I say, or imply that I think Hatfield is arrogant?
Maybe I am seeing things.........Perhaps I misinterpreted your meaning and I think that is why B208 said earlier that you just corrected Hadfield. It looks like the statement could be interpreted two different ways("....he never did a day in his life" followed by "what he says in this quote....... It comes off as arrogant"). Posts should be written more clearly or less open to misinterpretation. But, I will assume that (a) You meant that he was talking about arrogance (b) not that Hadfield is arrogant (c) I misread or misinterpreted you post for whatever reason but mainly because it is very poorly written) (d) Based on that will apologize and (e) delete my previous posts (f) hope you write things clearly in the future.
Rockie wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:08 am
Why aim for zero? Why not a +1?

I don't think Hadfield would ever say to aim for zero because he never did a day in his life.

What he says in this quote is to not proclaim you are a +1 one. It comes off as arrogant.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Rockie » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:46 am

Definitely don’t be a -1.

At least be a zero so you’re not actively impeding progress.

But I’ll ask the simple non-contentious question again that caused all the internet outrage. Why aim for zero, why not a +1? The effort alone puts you above zero.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by photofly » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:58 am

I sold Chris Hadfield a a copy of the CFS and a Toronto VTA a couple of years ago. I wonder what that makes me.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by B208 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:51 am

photofly wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:58 am
I sold Chris Hadfield a a copy of the CFS and a Toronto VTA a couple of years ago. I wonder what that makes me.
..a cashier? :smt040 (Sorry, couldn't resist)
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by photofly » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:05 am

Ha. That would be promotion.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Zaibatsu » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:26 am

I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by digits_ » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:15 am

photofly wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:58 am
I sold Chris Hadfield a a copy of the CFS and a Toronto VTA a couple of years ago. I wonder what that makes me.
Did his rocket fly through Canadian airspace?
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Outlaw58 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:25 am

Rockie wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:46 am
Definitely don’t be a -1.

At least be a zero so you’re not actively impeding progress.

But I’ll ask the simple non-contentious question again that caused all the internet outrage. Why aim for zero, why not a +1? The effort alone puts you above zero.
My understanding is that actively bringing all your assets to the forefront without regards for what is expected of you ie aiming for +1 will land you in -1 land. That is exactly the kind of advice being given to anyone posting here looking for a pilot job. Potential employers don't care about your CPL multi-IFR (your +1 ness) if what they need is a ramp guy. Make yourself a valuable member of the team by doing what is asked of you WELL! (be a zero) and only then will you be viewed as a +1.

Then again, I may have misunderstood completely, but this attitude has served me in the past.

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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by photofly » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:37 am

digits_ wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:15 am
photofly wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:58 am
I sold Chris Hadfield a a copy of the CFS and a Toronto VTA a couple of years ago. I wonder what that makes me.
Did his rocket fly through Canadian airspace?
Yes. Even though he wasn’t navigating below 12,500 feet MSL in the Toronto VTA area for more than a second and a half, he takes his responsibilities to have on board “all relevant information” VERY seriously.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Rockie » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:39 am

Think of it this way:

There is a problem and your choice is to:

a) Get in the way and make it worse
b) Sit back and wait for someone else to solve it, or
c) Be proactive and get the ball rolling to solve it yourself.

Forget how you appear, what are you going to do.

You get in the way - you do nothing - you contribute.

Simple. I don't understand where the trouble is or where the outrage came from.

BTW most people I've been fortunate enough to work with are option "c", there have been a few "b", and thankfully no "a" that I can recall.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Outlaw58 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:30 pm

Rockie wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:39 am
Think of it this way:

There is a problem and your choice is to:

a) Get in the way and make it worse
b) Sit back and wait for someone else to solve it, or
c) Be proactive and get the ball rolling to solve it yourself.

Forget how you appear, what are you going to do.

You get in the way - you do nothing - you contribute.

Simple. I don't understand where the trouble is or where the outrage came from.

BTW most people I've been fortunate enough to work with are option "c", there have been a few "b", and thankfully no "a" that I can recall.
Well if you interpret aiming to be a zero as doing nothing, then your confusion over people's reaction to your comments make sense. But as you said, you read and understood the book, so what do I know...

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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Whiskey25 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:49 pm

Don’t confuse aiming to be zero with goals and ambitions. Col Hadfield definitely aims to be a +1 when it comes to achieving the goals he has set for himself... fighter pilot, astronaut. He knew what he wanted to do in life and he mapped out his path and applied all the +1 that he was capable of to achieve it. What he didn’t do was let his personal drive become his identity. If your identity is +1, that’s when you will lose people.

Col Hadfield is a very smart and talented person who is/was working with a lot of people who had similar abilities. He knew early on that the best way to achieve success was to engage everyone as opposed to overpowering them with his plus oneness. The best leaders I worked for in the military never told me how great they were... you just knew, their reputation preceded them.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by justwork » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:05 am

after reading this thread I perceive Rockie as a -1. That's just me, and that's all I know.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Rockie » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:13 am

Irony is being judged wanting.....by you guys.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Posthumane » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:50 am

Rockie, your question of why someone should strive to be a 0 rather than striving to be a +1 was answered, by Chris Hadfield. In his book, which you said you read. But for those who haven't read it, I'll attempt to paraphrase his answer.

To start, being a 0 does not being doing nothing, or not contributing to the team effort. That would be a -1. A 0 is the guy who comes in, does his job as he's expected to do, and everyone is generally happy with his results. Nobody had to pick up slack from him, fix anything he damaged or messed up, etc. On the other hand he didn't revolutionize the way things were done, he didn't go way above and beyond what was expected of him, he just did his job well. A +1 is the guy who came in to do a job, and not only did it well but found ways that the team could do things even better than they had been, or found efficiencies that nobody else saw and exploited them, etc. When the +1 leaves, the team or organization is functioning even better than when he came in. The problem with always striving to be a +1 is that it can't be forced, it has to come naturally as a progression of being a good 0. The guys who come in immediately trying to fix things and make things better, without first taking the time to become good at what they were supposed to be doing and pulling their weight, usually end up making things worse. The people who actually end up making things better are able to do so because they strove to become good at doing their jobs first and foremost, helping out when needed, and staying out of the way when not.

A good place to observe this is on military courses. In a big group you usually end up with a few -1s who complain, don't pull their weight, and so on. Most of the bunch are 0s, who are just striving to meet the course standard and learn the material. They help each other out when needed, but don't stuff their noses into places where they don't belong. The ones that are putting the most effort into being 0s are the ones that end up being top candidate, since they were actually leaning towards +1 simply by virtue of trying to do a good job. But there is often a handful of people who really *want* to be the top candidate - they want the instructors to see how great they are and will go out of their way to show it. They are the people who will say "I know they told us to do it like this, but I think that is a better way to do it so let's do it like that!" They are the ones striving to be +1s, and often failing at it because they don't acknowledge that the instructors generally know what they are doing, and don't realize that they are being told to do something a certain way for a reason. They just assume they know better.

Anyway, I hope everyone reads Mr. Hadfield's book as he does a much better job of explaining it than I could.

I think we should all just agree that both Rockie AND B208 are awesome. I mean, not quite as awesome as Chris Hadfield or PilotDAR maybe, but still pretty awesome...
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Rockie » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:55 am

Ok. Again, why not aim to be a +1?

Come on people, it’s a very simple question that no one has yet adequately answered. Sure, do your job, but if you have an opportunity to improve things by going a little above and beyond none of you would take it?

I don’t believe it. Personally I think many of you go above and beyond routinely, deliberately, which means you’re trying to be a +1. Good on you.

I don’t see what the argument is beyond just disagreeing with everything I say out of habit.
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Re: Aim to be a zero - Chris Hadfield

Post by Squaretail » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:19 am

I would say personally that to be a +1, is a result of being a zero who, as you say rises when the opportunity arises. You have to be a zero of course to take advantage of said opportunity. Ultimately the question here is a difference of opinion on definitions.

As an analogy, consider a line of players on the ice at any given time during a hockey game. At any given time, every player is striving to be zero - that is to say not getting scored against is equally as important as scoring. They all have to be playing their roles. If one has played any team sport, you know the guy who is striving to be the singular +1. You know, doesn’t pass the puck, tries to one man the entire opposition, and frequently doesn’t contribute defensively usually known as a cherry picker. His striving to be +1 is going to make the collective effort a -1. Rather a +1 result is going to collectively emerge from a group striving to be zeroes, who can take advantage of an opportunity.

There is an old saying that runs along the lines of “those who want to lead shouldn’t” . Leadership, as a quality is often emergent rather than forced or claimed. If a display of leadership may result in one’s plus-oneness, then obviously you can’t have everyone simultaneously striving for that position, or it ends up being counter productive. The too many chiefs, not enough Indians problem. A +1 will emerge from a group of collectively striving to be zeroes, than will a group collectively trying to be the plus one. If we go back to the hockey analogy, while technically only one guy on the line is going to get the glory as doing the plus one deed, he gets there from a group of guys striving to do their job well and being zeroes. You can’t have five guys hanging out in center ice hoping to increase their chances of being plus ones.

In this instance being a zero is not a negative connotation.
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