Interview with former RAF Fighter Pilot & Executive Officer of the Red Arrows Dan Lowes

Interview with former RAF Fighter Pilot & Executive Officer of the Red Arrows Dan Lowes

Friday, 24 September 2021

What does it really take to work in one of the most respected and well-known military branches in the world? And what can business leaders learn from the lessons it teaches?

James and Mark chat to former RAF Fighter Pilot and Executive Officer of the Red Arrows Dan Lowes, who reflects on his 16 years as a fast jet pilot and qualified weapons instructor (aka Top Gun School!) and how business leaders can learn from the resilience, mistakes, lessons and discipline it takes to make it to the Red Arrows. As he says, it’s not just about being the best pilot (although that does help!)

Dan knew what he wanted to be from a young age, skipping the opportunity to go to university in order to pursue his dream of taking to the sky quicker than others, after all, why do four years at university when the outcome would be the same, just later in life. Dan’s focus on his dream was what drove him forwards in his career, with his goal never wavering, something most business owners can probably relate to!

Dan talks us through the art of a good de-brief, why they’re more important than the briefing and how businesses should embrace them; why role play is a helpful tool for businesses to adopt, helping to road test potential scenarios; how the Red Arrows stop complacency created by repetition; classic goal setting; the true meaning of team work and of course, Top Gun!

We also learn about ‘Red-teaming’, the ‘Half error technique’, and why in briefings you are called by a number not by your name – the answer may surprise you! These are insights not to be missed.

Dan now works as a private jet pilot by day and as a keynote motivational speaker by night. He will soon be found alongside Scott Radford, hosting Performance Hackers, a podcast about discovering the actionable hacks and habits experts in their respective fields can offer to help others achieve their next goals.

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Show notes:

Dan on LinkedIn

Dan on Instagram

RAF recruitment

Performance Hackers podcast

Dan's book recommendations:

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance

Coherence: The Science of Exceptional Leadership and Performance

Time stamps:

  • How to deal with complacency  - 21.20
  • Working in a bubble - 30:30
  • Focus and checklists - 40:00
  • Brief – Mission – Debrief - 42:15
  • Debrief hacks - 44:58
  • Dealing with egos in a room - 58:34
  • Take the situation seriously not yourself - 1:11:49


Listen here!


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