Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 60

SYSTEMIC ISSUES

The Four A's are intended to be a potentially helpful tool for leaders of
aviation and other safety-critical businesses to avoid these consequences.
by Dr. Marc Szepan

S

ystemic safety and quality problems can develop
even in otherwise widely
admired organizations.
Safety-critical businesses should tackle these as
quickly and as thoroughly
as possible. This article proposes
a framework - the Four A's - for
addressing systemic safety and
quality issues.

Top Priority Mission
Individual errors can occur even in the
best managed organizations and often are
costly. Systemic problems can develop even
in the most admired of organizations and
can become existential threats. Aviation
and other safety-critical businesses should
be particularly alert to the development
of safety and quality problems that are
potentially systemic. These should not be

60

OCTOBER 2020	

allowed to fester and to become entrenched.
Aviation businesses should make correction
of systemic safety and quality issues a top
priority mission. This article proposes the
Four A's framework as a helpful managerial
tool for executing this important mission.

The Four A's Framework
The building blocks of the Four A's framework are acknowledgement, action, aperture and assessment. These are discussed
individually below:

1. Acknowledgment -
Acknowledge the systemic nature
of safety and quality issues.
Deliberate correction of a problem is contingent upon recognizing and acknowledging it in the first place. Unfortunately, in
many organizations, the first gut reaction to
the emergence of problems often is denial,
deflection or qualification. This can be the

case even for relatively small and inconsequential individual errors or violations.
Recognition and acknowledgement of
systemic problems with potentially much
graver consequences tends to be an even
taller order. Some organizations refuse to
recognize and to acknowledge the systemic
nature of a serious problem, even in the face
of overwhelming evidence. Rather than
accepting an issue as systemic, leadership
gravitates towards emphasizing its ostensibly individual nature. This tendency can be
particularly pronounced in widely admired
organizations that are recognized leaders in
their domains and that have a strong sense
of pride in their history.
Leaders of aviation businesses should
not fall into the trap of discounting systemic safety and quality issues as individual
errors or violations, let alone of dismissing them as "one off " Black Swan events.
Instead, safety-critical businesses would be

AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY



Aircraft Maintenance Technology

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aircraft Maintenance Technology

Editor's Takeoff: The Young and the Restless
Industry Inspection
40 Under 40, Who Made the Cut?
Keeping Sharp on Blade Maintenance
Protect Others, Protect Yourself
Nimble at 65
Flightdocs' Journey Lands at ATP
How to Address Systemic Safety and Quality Issues
Professionalism: Owning Your Impact
ARSA: Maintenance Professionals Share Career Stories
Advertiser's Index
Shop Talk: Maintenance Records, or Lack There Of
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 1
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 2
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 3
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Editor's Takeoff: The Young and the Restless
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 5
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 6
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 7
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Industry Inspection
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 9
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 40 Under 40, Who Made the Cut?
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 11
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 12
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Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 33
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 34
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 35
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Keeping Sharp on Blade Maintenance
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 37
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 38
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 39
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 40
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 41
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Protect Others, Protect Yourself
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 43
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 44
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 45
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 46
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 47
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Nimble at 65
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 49
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 50
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 51
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 52
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 53
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Flightdocs' Journey Lands at ATP
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 55
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 56
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 57
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 58
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 59
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - How to Address Systemic Safety and Quality Issues
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 61
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 62
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Professionalism: Owning Your Impact
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - ARSA: Maintenance Professionals Share Career Stories
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Advertiser's Index
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - Shop Talk: Maintenance Records, or Lack There Of
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 67
Aircraft Maintenance Technology - 68
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