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“Arrogance and overconfidence have been defeated with Crew-Resource-Management (CRM). Today, humbleness and common sense determine the nature of aviation“.
Cpt. Don Keating, Aircraft Captain, with 38 years of airline experience and a successful CRM trainer for managers in high-risk industries for over 13 years*
Achieving this was not easy. There were many necessary steps to allow humbleness and common sense to flourish for crews while communicating with each other onboard the aircraft.
First, it required an exact analysis to find out which behavior led to fatal human failure.
The answer to this was sobering: arrogance and overconfidence of the captain accounted for more than 80% of recorded errors. This resulted in a complete failure of the team!
The analysis was followed by a solution model, a corresponding teaching method and last but not least an effective training concept.
From the beginning, CRM researchers and training developers have used clearly understandable rules that enable trainable behavioral patterns. Unexplained and vaguely defined buzzwords such as “digital transformation” or “agile” are avoided to enable effective communication.
The following core elements could be identified:
• Leadership in a hierarchy
• Decision-making, mainly under pressure
• Stress and error management
Communication plays a special role. It is the root of success. Very little works without clear and concise communication.
The element leadership focuses on trust.
Trust is the basis for good leadership.
There can be no successful leadership without trust!
Researchers quickly and unanimously concluded that trust needs to be nurtured constantly. It is and will always remain quite volatile.
Two factors nurture trust between humans: Expertise and benevolence.
A constant and visible benevolence plays a decisively bigger role than expertise.
In addition, two serious disruptive factors were identified as having a negative influence on effective communication, excellent leadership and proper decision-making or even make it impossible:
• Stress and unsolved conflicts
Both mutually determine and influence each other.
A good and accepted teaching and training method is the core of a successful practical implementation.
In CRM, this has been achieved in an unique way for over 30 years.
Companies across all industries in the USA are increasingly using research and methodologies around CRM. Why?
Quick decisions in a rapidly changing global economy increasingly lead to stress and conflicts in traditional corporate and hierarchy structures.
More and more, this causes a chain of fatal errors that can paralyze and endanger a company.
Classic change processes not only can lead to undesirable results but also increase the potential for conflict.
CRM research, audits and training experiences in a complex (working) environment with challenging surrounding factors have focused on interpersonal relationships for decades.
They are the deciding factors of success or failure – rather than technical progress.
The special importance of executives is repeatedly being emphasized in CRM.
The model CRM can only succeed from the top, starting from the executive.
After all, the captain had to develop from the “hero of the sky” to an integrated team leader without losing a fraction of his authority.
Mainly during training of the skills of a team, the relationship to digital and automated work processes plays an increasingly important role.
CRM researchers have defined new behavioral characteristics and communication rules in the relationship between humans and technology.
All elements of CRM contain an effective and sustainable stress and conflict management. As said before, both has been recognized as a prerequisite for efficient and error-free work in a team.
CRM is in its sixth stage of development.
Big milestones include the integration of anyone operationally involved in aviation (from the captain to ground handling), the further development of a pure error management to a thread and error management by introducing the audit systems LOSA and of course the changing requirements due to the digitalization of aircrafts (cockpits with two pilots and computer-assisted aviation).
In companies and hospitals, the main task is to work efficiently and error-free in rapidly changing and interdisciplinary teams.
For this, classic team research – as characterized by Richard Hackman – forms a very good basis.
It is continually developed and adapted to current requirements.
Flight crews change frequently, do not know each other before they meet and still fulfill very high quality standards of team and individual services in aviation.
To dramatically further develop our training methods for managers in this direction, we use the results of worldwide intensive research activities.
In this context, e.g., we can highly recommend the new book of the US team researcher
Amy C. Edmondson “Extreme Teaming“.
Our training is always based on specific prerequisites, rules and behavioral patterns. We consistently avoid nebulous descriptions lacking content, no matter how great they may seem, as they do not result in any positive and sustainable development.
*Source: Gordon, S., Mendenhall, P., and O’Connor, B. B. (2013) Beyond the Checklist. What Else Health Care Can Learn from Aviation Teamwork and Safety, Cornell University Press, USA