Andy Shone

CEO, Southpac Aerospace

Andy is the CEO of Southpac Aerospace and is an active facilitator and consultant for SMS, Human Factors and Human & Organisational Performance. He has led the development of innovative training programs covering Leadership, Quality, Safety and Continual Improvement all with a focus on the critical role of people. Andy is a postgraduate of the Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab in Brisbane, Australia and is a passionate proponent of leading edge management concepts and safety science.

From Reacting to Learning, the Next Step in Aviation Safety

What gets measured gets done! Or so we believe. Today even in safety, many organisations are driven by KPI’s and dashboards. The result of this often means that we focus on efficiency, getting stuff done, as opposed to thoroughness i.e. being effective. This mindset appears to be increasingly driving the familiar routine;

• Imposed deadlines for close out of identified issues, we often believe this shows commitment and potentially it does.
• Quick fixes ensue, write another SOP, issue a safety bulletin or reminder, safety ABC’s (Always be careful)
• Dashboards drive action, smiley faces or green lights indicate efficiency, amber and red indicate a problem.
• Problems recur, or new ones emerge potentially through not addressing the right problem or the law of unintended consequences.

The result of all of this in the worst-case scenario is that Quality and Safety Management Systems become a convenient mechanism for managing administrative changes.

Einstein is reported to have said that if he only had one hour to solve a problem he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and the remaining 5 minutes solving it routinely. The focus here is clearly one on learning and understanding the true nature of the problem as opposed to gaining a superficial understanding and immediately instigating a fix. 

Airlines need to move towards approaches that are more focused on learning and understanding. Approaches that accept the inherent complexity of the modern workplace, particularly in aviation, and in turn takes systemic action to improve performance rather than falling back on simple explanations and familiar fixes.

Human and Organisational Performance (HOP) is an approach or philosophy that focuses on building an understanding of how organisations and people work together with the aim of enhancing performance. Performance in its widest possible definition includes all potential outcomes including safety, quality, productivity and efficiency.

The learning team approach is built on taking the time to really understand, with the aid of frontline personnel, what’s really happening and the best way to fix it.