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FLIGHT VIS

“Flight Vis” shares opinions on safety issues from
professionals operating on aviation’s front lines.

Good Leadership, Trust, and SMS Buy-In
BY BILL MCBRIDE

Buy-in from pilots, technicians, and support personnel is something every Safety
Management System presumes, but not all
get. Buy-in isn’t a program, a process, or
a one-time action; we question ourselves
if we have it, and know without question
when we don’t. I recognize buy-in as the
outcome of good leadership and management efforts to communicate effectively.
It necessitates a different style of thinking, as it’s a conscious thought process
applying oneself to influence and inspire,
as a means of changing attitudes. It’s not
about being the best we can be, it’s about

Our team recently went through the SMS
Lift program from Dr. Tony Kern’s company,
Convergent Performance. The course narrative mentions in the opening that the NBAA
identified employee participation (buy-in) as
the single largest challenge to implementing
an effective SMS. The research identified
four primary obstacles: 1) they don’t fully
understand their role, 2) they don’t comprehend the critical importance of their inputs,
3) they don’t feel comfortable interacting,
and 4) they don’t think it’s their job. This
quality program offered insights that allowed
our team to reflect and validate our existing

Great leaders have inspired us not by advice or education,
but by actions; sharing the problem and reason for the
change, communicating a clear vision and planned actions,
holding the team accountable for results, and proclaiming

als that make up your team. Buy-in necessitates leadership, and good leaders foster
an environment of trust, creating clear lines
of open communication that transform
the sharing of information and education
as a means to building confidence and
allowing each person to see their contributions. It’s been stated by many that people
don’t leave companies; they leave leaders.
Everyone wants to be around leaders who
help them grow personally and professionally, and recognize their contributions. Make
sure your team knows you’re a part of the
team, and while you’re sharing this vision
into the future, inspire others to advance
themselves beyond their comfort zones, as
this inspires buy-in.
Buy-in is about transforming others to
embrace new habits and processes. Also,
let’s recognize that most of us like predictability in our lives, preferring not to deviate
far from our internal norms. Anyone seeking
buy-in must articulate the intent, so those

their own stake in the initiative.
constantly promoting our vision and giving others reason to change course over
what they may have accepted as desirable
norms. Throughout our life journey we’ve
learned valuable lessons on how buy-in can
make the difference and change outcomes.
It occurs all around us. We just aren’t recognizing the skill itself. A good example
everyone can relate to is good ole Ralphie;
clearly he got the buy-in, and the Red Ryder
Carbine-Action air rifle became a reality.
Great leaders have inspired us not by
advice or education, but by actions; sharing the problem and reason for the change,
communicating a clear vision and planned
actions, holding the team accountable for
results, and proclaiming their own stake in
the initiative. I left out a few key elements
that are essential to achieving buy-in such
as respect, consistent leadership actions,
trust, alignment of objectives, trust, and of
course, commitment to succeed. Oh, did I
mention trust?
6

actions. So was this a simple safety training
objective, or our attempt to get buy-in for our
safety objectives? We reviewed where we
were as a team, articulated the need to continually improve, and challenged our people
to visualize their role within the organization
in support of our safety objectives.
Buy-in is a minimum standard for every
flight department. It doesn’t matter if
you’re flying multiple aircraft or a single—we
need buy-in to achieve objectives. Many of
us acquired our skills by living and learning from our mistakes or the mistakes of
others. The hard road approach tends to
underscore what doesn’t facilitate buy-in.
What does, are the pillars of trust, honesty, communication, and how the team
perceives you as a compassionate, fair,
and consistent leader. This isn’t a crash
course on buy-in, rather it’s a reflection on
buy-in as a lifelong objective; making sure
everyone’s operating to a commonly shared
vision and strategy investing in the individu-

View the National Business Aviation
Association’s “Best Practices for Safety
Climate, Culture, and Management Systems”
video, which introduces the general concepts of a safety management system
and provides an overview of the generally
accepted elements associated with implementing a safety management system into
any size flight department. (nbaa.org/news/
multimedia/videos/20110808-safety-climate-culture-management-systems.php)


http://www.nbaa.org/news/multimedia/videos/20110808-safety-climate-culture-management-systems.php http://www.nbaa.org/news/multimedia/videos/20110808-safety-climate-culture-management-systems.php

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Premium On Safety - Issue 12, 2013

Premium On Safety - Issue 12, 2013
Contents
Emergency Response Plan: Navigating the Aftermath
ASI Message: Chilling Facts
Flight Vis: Good Leadership, Trust, and SMS Buy-In
SMS Corner: Insights from Dr. Tony Kern
Announcing Performance Vector Plus by USAIG
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Premium On Safety - Issue 12, 2013 - Emergency Response Plan: Navigating the Aftermath
Premium On Safety - Issue 12, 2013 - ASI Message: Chilling Facts
Premium On Safety - Issue 12, 2013 - Flight Vis: Good Leadership, Trust, and SMS Buy-In
Premium On Safety - Issue 12, 2013 - SMS Corner: Insights from Dr. Tony Kern
Premium On Safety - Issue 12, 2013 - Announcing Performance Vector Plus by USAIG
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