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by Brian Chidester
  • brianchidester

Leadership Lessons from a Former TOP GUN Pilot and Instructor that Apply to the Public Sector

"Top Gun" is an iconic 1980s film about Navy fighter pilots, and with its sequel — "Top Gun: Maverick" — set to come out Memorial Day weekend, 2022, thought this was a good opportunity to highlight the leadership aspects from this school.

Top Gun is the nickname for the elite Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor school that opened in 1969. The film is a fictionalized depiction of the life of fighter pilots at the Top Gun training program, and it brought fame and recognition to the elite training.

Like the program depicted in the film, Top Gun is highly competitive. It's only for the best of the best naval aviators in the country. Retired Top Gun instructors say that both "Top Gun" and the trailer for "Top Gun: Maverick" are incredibly realistic.

This is because film producers worked with the US military to utilize real military grounds and equipment. The 1986 movie proved itself to be a recruiting dream for a generation of naval aviators.

One such aviator was Dave Berke, who viewed the movie and decided that is what he wanted to do for his career. He is now a leadership consultant and he joined the show to share his experience with the OODA loop, the science and art of this process, and how this applies in marketing, sales, and leadership. We also discuss his time at TOP GUN, what he did to become a USMC aviator, and how pilots are dealing with the potential data paralysis that can come from innovation.

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