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Channeling the Spitfire: Discovering Your Business’s ‘Essential 6’

Written by: Greg Weiss

The Supermarine Spitfire, an iconic symbol of World War II, isn’t just known for its prowess in aerial combat or its iconic silhouette against the war-torn skies. Dive deeper into its design, and you’ll discover a treasure of business wisdom right in its cockpit. 

Among the many instruments and controls, a set of six dials stands out, capturing the essence of the Spitfire’s efficiency and focus.

These weren’t merely instruments; they represented a clear message: In the world of clutter and noise, prioritize.

Why Six? The Power of Essentialism

Ever heard of the saying “less is more”? In business metrics and KPIs, this concept often gets overshadowed. Much like the Spitfire pilots who needed only these six critical dials to navigate complex scenarios, business leaders today can benefit immensely from the art of essentialism.

It’s a simple but transformative idea. By narrowing our focus to a handful of essential metrics or goals, we can harness our energy more effectively, avoiding the pitfalls of spreading ourselves too thin.

Decoding the ‘Essential 6’ For Your Business

Every business is unique, and the ‘Essential 6’ for one might differ for another. The key is to recognize what genuinely drives growth, engagement, and success for your specific business model. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you discover yours:

1. Audit Your Current Metrics: Take stock of all the KPIs and metrics you currently track. Which of these directly correlate with your business’s growth and customer satisfaction?

2. Solicit Feedback: Talk to your team. Those on the ground often have valuable insights into what truly matters. Understand what metrics they deem vital.

3. The ‘So What?’ Test: For each metric, ask, “So what?” If increasing a particular metric doesn’t translate to tangible growth, better customer experience, or operational efficiency, perhaps it’s not as essential as you think.

4. Visualize & Simplify: Once you’ve shortlisted potential candidates for your ‘Essential 6’, visualize them. Use dashboards or other tools to keep them at the forefront of your business decisions.

5. Review and  Iterate: The business world isn’t static. What’s essential today might not be tomorrow. Regularly review your ‘Essential 6’ and adjust as your business evolves.

The Impact of the ‘Essential 6’ Approach

This isn’t just about decluttering; it’s about optimizing for impact. By focusing on fewer, more meaningful metrics or goals, businesses can:

  1. Streamline decision-making processes.
  2. Foster clearer communication within teams.
  3. Align resources more effectively towards impactful outcomes.
  4. Cultivate a culture centered on results, not just activities.

The ‘Spitfire 6’ Measures for your business 

Drawing inspiration from the concept of six crucial navigational instruments in aviation, businesses can also establish ‘key’ measures or metrics for job roles. These should be the vital indicators that provide a clear picture of performance. Think of them as the dials that help you navigate the sky of business growth. 

Here are 6 I suggest that are valuable to any business:

1. Purpose Alignment: Does your employee’s role and performance directly contribute to the company’s overarching mission?

2. Efficiency: Is your employee able to complete their tasks in an optimal manner, making the most of available resources?

3. Innovation: How often does your employee bring new ideas or processes that contribute to the company’s growth or operational efficiency?

4. Collaboration: Does your employee effectively work within a team, promoting synergy and shared success?

5. Continuous Learning: Is your employee proactive in upgrading their skills and knowledge to adapt to changing business environments?

6. Customer/Client Impact: How does your employee’s role contribute to customer satisfaction and business-client relationships?


The Spitfire’s pilots trusted those six dials to guide them through some of the most challenging sorties. In much the same way, by identifying and focusing on your business’s ‘Essential 6’, you can navigate the complex landscape of modern business with clarity, purpose, and efficiency. Are you ready to find your ‘Essential 6’?

Greg Weiss

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Greg authored 3 practical Career Books, and 1 Book helping Visionary leaders scale their businesses. He is one of Australia’s most experienced HR consultants and leading career coaches. He is the founder and owner of Soulidify and Career365. As an entrepreneur/business owner, Greg has experienced first-hand the joys and frustrations of starting and growing one’s own business.

You can find him on LinkedIn or Linktree.