Interview with Joel "Thor" Neeb, President of Afterburner

Afterburner Inc. is a global consulting firm dedicated to bringing corporate strategy and execution to life. The organization teaches corporations around the world how to utilize the same techniques that created leaders and developed elite teams in the high-stakes environment of elite military teams. Afterburner will be presenting at the 11th annual PMI Summit18.

The founding story for Afterburner is interesting and inspiring. Founder and CEO, Jim “Murph” Murphy was playing baseball at University of Kentucky and had high hopes of joining the MLB. Unfortunately, Murph suffered an injury that forced his dreams of playing professional baseball to come to an end. Faced with the daunting task of finding a new career path, Murph found himself selling copiers and leading a sales team. Although he was doing well in his new position, he was having trouble scaling his successes.

During this time, Murph was given the opportunity to meet a fighter pilot. Impressed by Murph, the pilot suggested he attend fighter pilot school. His training there is what inspired him to start Afterburner. He used the iterative processes he was exposed to as a fighter pilot to develop the Flawless ExecutionSM methodology that Afterburner teaches businesses helping them to grow.

“The military shaves your head, puts you in an identical uniform, and strips you of your prior identity. The result is a common mental model and a common identity,” Joel “Thor” Neeb, President of Afterburner said. “This helps build a sense alignment, cohesion, and comradery.”

Flawless Execution provides a common mental model that helps leaders and teams improve. A pilot could fly a mission with someone from Denmark one morning and South Korea in the afternoon, never having met them before, and execute flawlessly because they have a common approach for all of their flights that transcended the barriers. Jim Murphy felt this approach could be leveraged similarly to build teams and develop leaders.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect mission. As a trainer pilot, I never expected them to fly a perfect mission. What we do expect is for them to be impeccable and never repeat the same mistakes,” Thor said. “We identify root causes of failure and clear specific actions to succeed the next time.” This is what Thor defines as the Flawless Execution methodology.

There are many benefits to companies implementing the Flawless Execution methodology.

“The first benefit you see is a sense of alignment. There are many remotely dispersed teams out there and it’s hard to create alignment. Flawless Execution gives you a process for building a common mental model and allows you then to build a plan that is ready to execute. Flawless Execution builds alignment up front, allowing and providing the team fuel to execute as a group. This enables them to turn the plan into action,” Thor said.

Afterburner has helped their clients see great success by utilizing the Flawless Execution process. One client was able to increase their completion rate from the average of 33% up to 91%. Their highest ticket order value originally was 30 million. Last year, this client’s ticket order value went up to 154 million by implementing Flawless Execution. They also tripled their stock prices in the last 18 months.

“When we were pilots, we used the afterburner thrust on the jet to launch and increase speed. This is the same thing we do for companies. We kick them into afterburner mode. They see their lagging indicators advancing and accelerating the organizational performance,” Thor said.

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Eventbrite - Summit18


Find out more about Afterburner with an Introduction to Flawless Execution:

Introduction to Flawless Execution - Afterburner

Article by Katarina Triguba.

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