Founded in 1998 by William Borgsmiller, ACI Jet is a San Luis Obispo, California-based private business aviation company. It started small with one twin-prop airplane. Driven by the founder’s perseverance and business acumen, ACI Jet grew into a full-service business aviation company. Today ACI Jet has more than 300 employees, a fleet of 15 jets, a maintenance and repair station, and fixed-base operations in three California locations.
When the pandemic hit, and travel was severely restricted, ACI Jet had to adopt a ‘survive to thrive’ approach. Borgsmiller had successfully grown the company (including taking over a rival business) and attracting investment. But it became clear that a disciplined planning process with regular reviews was needed to track and encourage growth, focus the teams, and preserve alignment across the company. In other words, finding a way to survive…
However, ACI Jet executives and their teams were not always sure what was going on, and priorities quickly changed. As a result, the company lacked alignment and situational awareness. The problem was that building a culture of planning and regular reviews usually takes time. But the company didn’t have time… They needed to find something that would enable the process to go faster and give the leadership team the tools to focus very specifically on their targets and challenges.
Chief Operating Officer George Dom has significant leadership experience witch includes 26 years as an officer, strike-fighter pilot, and instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (known as TOPGUN). He also once commanded the Blue Angels jet demonstration squadron.
Used to maintaining order amid fast-changing environments, Dom quickly saw that one of the first priorities to address was communication. Dom brought in the One Page Planning and Performance System to address the challenges facing the company. The aim for the first year (2020) was just to get the planning process started, establish the habit of the monthly reviews, and build from there.
“All I wanted to do that first year was to take them through the process of building the plans and then meeting every month to talk about the plans and see how they’re doing,” recalls Dom. A monthly cadence of three 1-hour meetings was established… each member of the leadership team met individually with the CEO and COO to make decisions. The entire company was invited to a virtual town hall for a fast-paced, 30-minute update on ACI Jet’s priorities for the following month with wide-open Q&A.
By the second year of the planning process in 2021, the plans improved, becoming more specific and realistic to make informed decisions. This included developing annual budgets for each business unit with financial targets and key performance indicators they could track for actionable insights
“According to Dom, “Thankfully, as the country began to open up and people began to travel, our business was well-positioned to thrive. We have had two solid years of growth, helped along by our One Page Plans. Although we have only recently initiated our One Page Planning process with regular reviews, the leadership team now has the tools to focus very specifically on their targets and challenges. The monthly reviews keep us aligned and allow us to adapt quickly. I’m certain that the alignment, transparency, and accountability of our One Page planning process will take us from being very good to becoming a great company in 2022 and beyond. We’re going to take off because The One Page Planning and Performance System is now part of ACI’s DNA.”
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