A FORMER Red Arrows pilot who went from cockpit to boardroom has published a book of business advice.

Justin Hughes, from Branksome Park in Poole, has drawn on his RAF career and on his subsequent time as an entrepreneur and management consultant.

The Business of Excellence, published by Bloomsbury, is about building high-performance teams and organisations.

Mr Hughes, 49, was executive officer of the Red Arrows and flew more than 250 displays.

“After my time in the Red Arrows ended, I decided it was probably around time for me to leave and do other things,” he said.

“I didn’t fancy being an airline pilot, which is a normal route for people of my background.

“I started out doing some speaking about what a high-performing team looks like and started some team-building events.”

He went on to found Mission Excellence, which offers consultancy and training around the world.

His work has included running a leadership development programme for NATO.

He he did not initially realise how his military experience could be useful in the corporate world.

“When I left the air force, I didn’t know that I was good at. I just kind of flew planes and did an interesting job. I didn’t really unpick the skillset,” he said.

He said the RAF often had to operate with “imperfect information, but under enormous time pressure to make a decision quickly and the consequences of getting it wrong are quite high”.

He added: “Over time, the air force have become very good at equipping pilots with some of the skill making decisions in high pressure environment where you’re probably not going to get it exactly right.

“It’s always better to be approximately right than exactly wrong.”

He uses examples from the military, sporting and corporate world to show how teams can be built in any environment.

“It pulls together 25 years’ experience of both staff and military roles as a consultant working with all these different organisations. What I’ve tried to do is articulate one clear, simple model that almost any organisation could get,” he added.

Key principles include an emphasis on learning – he says “the best high performance organisations have a culture of learning to be better at the job” – and leadership by exhibiting a set of behaviours that others choose to follow.

“Often they’re things somebody could work out for themselves or they might even be familiar, but just because they’re easy to understand does not mean they’re simple to implement,” he said.