Reilly dropped his son Harry off at the arrivals door of Dublin Airport last Tuesday morning on his route back to Sydney. The mileometre on the car said they’d travelled 140 miles from Clare en route.

‘Just as well you weren’t one degree off Dad or we’d be in Malahide now.’

‘What are you talking about,’ asked Reilly, still knackered from the journey up.

‘The 1 in 60 rule.’

‘What’s that when it’s at home? asked Reilly.

‘In aviation circles they have a rule of thumb called the ‘1 in 60 rule.’ It states that for every 1 degree a plane veers off course, it misses its target destination by 1 mile for every 60 miles flown. This means that the farther you travel, the further you are from your destination.

‘If you’re off course by just one degree, after one foot, you’ll miss your target by 0.2 inches. Trivial, right? But…

  • After 100 yards, you’ll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.
  • After a mile, you’ll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.
  • If you veer off course by 1 degree flying around the equator, you’ll land almost 500 miles off target!

‘Sounds great in theory Harry but it’s a bit deep for me at this time of the night.’

‘Tragically it can be the difference between life and death. In 1979 a passenger jet carrying 257 people left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back,’ Harry explained.

‘Unknown to the pilots, however, there was a minor 2 degree error in the flight coordinates. This placed the aircraft 28 miles to the east of where the pilots thought they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape.

‘Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before. They had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).

‘Sadly, the plane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board. It was a tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.

Reilly returned to Clare clearly understanding the importance of a One Page Strategic Plan.


  • The moral here is that small things, compounded over a long period of time, make a massive difference.
  • Business is in many ways tantamount to flying a plane. Both involve trying to reach a destination as safely and as quickly as possible.
  • That’s why Reilly developed the One Page Strategic Plan. To encourage his clients to stop leaving their business on auto-pilot. In just one page it helps you chart your business course and critically, make adjustments along the way.
  • The magic of a one degree difference is that at 211* water is just hot. But at 212* water boils and produces steam. And steam can propel a train. Thats the difference one degree can make to your business over time.
  • Taking one hour out to plot your business course may seem like a pain in the ass but remember the difference that one degree makes. Thanks Harry.


‘There is little difference in people, but that difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.’

—W. Clement Stone.

‘Compound interest is the eight wonder of the world.’


‘In aviation, as in life, you have to learn to fly with instruments, and without them.’

—Pádraig O Ceidigh.


1. Where do you want your business to be? Remember a one degree deviance could be fatal!

2.Have you set out your strategic plan to get there?

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