Monday, July 27, 2020

SMS Tomorrow

SMS Tomorrow
By Catalina9

When Canada, as the first ICAO State, implemented the Safety Management System (SMS) a prediction was that it would take several years to mature. After several years it has still not matured to its full potential. The SMS in itself cannot fail since its purpose is to paint a true picture of an enterprise. What can fail is accountability by the regulator and enterprise leaders.

The first step of SMS Tomorrow began yesterday
Today, the regulator has taken on a role as both a paying customer and a regulatory oversight body. In addition, the regulator is micromanaging smaller businesses to a degree that is detrimental to safety by failing operators for grammatical errors or demanding to be the decision maker in business solutions. Senior mangers in airport operations are accepting the regulator’s involvements without questioning the effect it has on their operations. What is being overlooked is that a functional SMS conforms to regulatory requirement and the regulator is conducting regulatory oversight, while the paying customers are exercising their privilege to audit an enterprise for safety. A successful SMS operates with both a regulatory component and a safety component. What is crucial to operations is that these two bodies are independent of the enterprise and independent of each other.

SMS tomorrow will be different than what it is today. A future SMS enters into a commitment agreement with the flying public, the regulator, airports and airlines to only accept nothing less than excellence in operational processes. Excellence is not to be perfect and live in a virtual, or fantasy world. Excellence is incremental improvements of safety processes. SMS is not to show that we always get everything right, but to build a portfolio of safety. A fully potential SMS operates with a businesslike approach to safety.  

The fork in the road became an obstacle and not a path of incremental improvements
In essence, since the first phase of SMS implementation, it has followed the five stages of grief. First there was denial that SMS was a highly improved system to manage safety over other systems. Conventional wisdom in the aviation industry was that aviation had reached its maximum safety potential and that SMS could not improve safety. It was not accepted by the regulator or the public that SMS would outrun any other safety systems. Leaders, managers and other personnel felt hurt and in their own mind viewed their prior safety actions as failures. Then comes the anger. During the first few year of SMS, inspector and operators were angry and for every accident an SMS blame-factor was included. It went so far that professional SMS surveys set the SMS up to fail and they were skewed to paint a failing picture of the SMS. After that came the bargaining stage. On-demand and smaller carriers were negotiated by the aviation industry to be excluded from SMS regulatory requirement. The fourth step of the grief stages is depression. After operators made several honest attempts to address safety, the regulator overwhelmed them with findings, including unreasonable findings. Every operator, both airlines and airports became unhappy with their own operations and the regulator’s unfair approach. Operators subsumed to the pressure and accepted the checkbox syndrome as their solution. The checkbox syndrome is when the most important task in the SMS is to ensure that their checkboxes are checked to please the regulator. The final step is acceptance and we are not there yet. Acceptance is accountability and is to accept that we do not currently fully comprehend SMS. Only when SMS is accepted as a supreme system to any other known safety systems, and when accepted as a businesslike approach to safety is when is it moving towards its full potential. When safety becomes paramount, as opposed to the-number-one-priority, is when SMS is on an incremental path to reach its full potential.

Operators can choose between Excellence or Mediocrity. Picking mediocrity as a goal is the path of least resistance and the easy way out. If noting, or when very little is expected it’s impossible to lose. When operating without expectations nobody is at fault when things go wring. Fear of failure is the leading cause to avoid setting challenging goals. When we fail, we wonder what everyone else will think of us and how the failure will affect our future. We start worrying about missing out on future opportunities. If we avoid accepting opportunities, we save face and it can be backed up with that we tried. An old saying is that when we fail to plan, we plan to fail. 

Aviation safety was built on failures. Every improvement of safety was designed from failures and major accidents. What a functional SMS does is to move failures from physical harm to failures on the drawing board. When tests fails on the drawing board the aviation industry saves the world from a whole lot of grief.

SMS is the North Star of an Enterprise. Accountable Executive is the compass.
SMS tomorrow is when customers conduct safety audits of the operations and the regulator only inspects for regulatory compliance. A customer safety audit is based on real-time discoveries of operations and customers confidence level. A customer confidence level is a person’s opinion in real-time. This is the only time when opinions are introduced into the SMS as facts. In addition, it is just as important to know that this is not a social-media opinion, it is not a cloud-based survey opinion or a written opinion, but an emotion shared in real-time by that person. An SMS in its full potential is when customer service is the priority and safety is paramount.     

An inspection is a snapshot in time at the time of inspection. A regulatory inspection is not a movie or taping of events, but a snapshot picture at that time. An item in compliance at one time could be in non-compliance a few minutes later. Regulatory compliance is not a guarantee for safety in operations. On the other hand, when a customer conducts safety audits, they are not bound by regulatory requirements but by their confidence level of safety in operations. A finding becomes what in their opinion is a finding. A successful SMS is design as being viewed by their customers. The airport or airline best suited to service their customers needs gets the sale.

It is only people who can make an SMS work as it should and paint a likable picture of an enterprise. Automation and cloud-based SMS programs are exceptional and excellent tools to achieve goals and objectives. However, when these tools become a definite major purpose, operational control of servicing people is lost. If an operator really wants the SMS to paint a presentable picture of the organization, it is crucial for success that they treat SMS like a million dollars. A successful customer service SMS comes with oversight and a quality control element in every process.

A successful SMS tomorrow understand what customers want. The most important part of an SMS is to comprehend the needs of customer and find a way satisfy their wishes. An SMS that focuses on customer service and how a product or service can meet their needs is much more successful than an SMS in compliance with the regulatory checkbox system. Design your SMS Tomorrow as a personal SMS where your customers feel have confidence in you as a person and that they feel comfortable and protected from harm. Both airports and airlines are in the business of caring for memories and sentimental values. Be of a value to the customer by helping, guiding and assist in every single process designed. A well-organized SMS includes a Daily Rundown and Quality Control systems as a prerequisite for Quality Assurance. A successful SMS is Project Solutions Leadership Motivation. 

Without a clear comprehension SMS Tomorrow is hidden in plain view
Vision of tomorrow’s SMS when you are servicing your customers rather than providing a service from a regulatory point of view. An SMS tomorrow is when there is trust, learning, accountability and information sharing between an enterprise and the people they are servicing.
Tomorrow, when you sit down and looking back at yesterday, you will find an SMS where the regulator conducted regulatory oversight and the people our enterprise was servicing conducted safety in operations audits. In an SMS tomorrow we do not manage risks, but we lead personnel, manage equipment and validate operational design for incremental performance above a safety risk level bar established by our customers.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Building A Winning SMS Team

Building A Winning SMS Team
By Catalina9

Building a winning Safety Management System (SMS)team is beyond extreme hard work which starts with the Accountable Executive (AE). When the regulator performs SMS assessments of enterprises, the AE is the last person on their list to interview and the questions are simple overarching questions and policy questions. The AE should be interviewed first with the most difficult questions to answer. The SMS Manager is the person who is grilled by the regulator and expected to comprehend the Safety Management System. In addition, pilots and airline ground crews, and airport airside personnel are expected to recall tasks and SMS expectations beyond their operational requirements. By applying this philosophy, the regulator has an approach to SMS assessment to ensure regulatory compliance at the top level but is deterrent to aviation safety. This approach is neither good nor bad, since the regulator’s mandate is regulatory oversight which is different than operational oversight and control. An inspector’s role is to inspect for compliance only. Compliance is defined as the state of meeting regulatory requirements, the state defined as the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time. Regulations are independent of safety since they are applicable to a static environment. 

A Winning SMS Team is defined by its strategies
The AE of an airline or airport has a task that may contradict regulatory requirement in that their mandate is to build a Winning SMS Team of processes that conforms to regulatory requirements. If a process conforms to regulatory requirements is not known until after it has been tested. Design of a particular process may be built with a compliance intent, while the outcome of the intent is not known util the operations of the process loop is closed, e.g. from the time an airline leaves the gate for departure until it arrives at the gate at its destination. Within this time-frame, which could be between ½ hour to 15 hours, there are several forces of special cause variations acting on both the airline and airport contributing to non-compliance.

An Accountable Executive takes on a humongous and conglomerate task to proactively mitigate special cause variations. Special cause variations come in a 3D format of time (travel), space (geo-location) and compass (direction). The fall of both airlines and airports after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic is one example of how airlines and airports had ignored building a Winning SMS Team. While it’s true that they could not affect how the virus developed, they had full control over how they applied their operations in servicing their customers. Newspapers are reporting that airlines are back in business with 100% capacity. If there were one lesson airlines would have learned with a Winning SMS Team is that passenger seats need to be spaced similar to how they are spaced in a car. As a preventative tool for the next pandemic airplane seats should be separated 1-meter center to center between passengers. Airports would have learned that they are not in the business of processing, manipulating and storing passengers, but that they are in the business of caring for memories and sentimental values. However, and as always, when there is a conflict between safety and short-thinking cash, safety is the loosing partner.

The regulatory requirement to serve as an Accountable Executive is that the person has control of the financial and human resources that are necessary for the activities and operations authorized under the certificate. Accountability is; without supervision, to comply with regulatory requirements, standards, policies, recommendations, job descriptions, expectations or intent of job performance and for personnel to be actively and independently involved. An Accountable Executive is expected to work with a Winning SMS Team. Conduct a survey within your own enterprise and learn that every single person in your organization, customers, vendors and contractors expect that you operate with a Winning SMS Team.

Objectives and goals are crucial to build a Winning SMS Team. In addition, it is crucial for success that all personnel are actively involved, which includes the Accountable Executive. The accountability, interest and ownership an AE takes in their SMS is gauged by how many hazard reports the AE submits. There are seventeen principles to build a Winning SMS Team and it’s solely on the shoulders of the AE and Confidential Advisor to the AE to design, implement and monitor these principles.

Mastermind Alliance is to work in perfect harmony
The first principle is to design a Definiteness of Purpose. This is the first principle of all achievements. Without this principle an enterprise is a Titanic approaching unknown icebergs, or pandemics.

The second principle is to design a Mastermind Alliance, which is when minds are working in perfect harmony for the attainment of objectives. A successful Accountable Executive is dependent on a Mastermind Alliance towards a common objective and attainable goals. 

The third principle is Applied Faith. Faith is to harness comprehension of the Safety Management System. Comprehension comes from data, which is turned into information and knowledge. With knowledge systems are comprehended for the AE to move forward with Applied Faith. 

The fourth principle is Going the Extra Mile, which is to render more and better service to personnel, vendors and contractors than what they expect. Helping others to solve their problems will help solving your own. Nature is neutral to problems which will find their way around any obstacle to show up in one form or another. 

The fifth principle is a Pleasing Personality, which is the aggregate of all the agreeable, gratifying and likable qualities of any one individual. The attitude you transmit to others will tell you more about yourself the word you say, how well they are written or how you look. If there are problems within your enterprise, take a look in the mirror to find the root cause. 

The sixth principle is Personal Initiative. It is crucial for success of your position as the Accountable Executive that personnel are allowed to take personal initiatives within their roles and involvement in the SMS. Personal initiative is the inner power that starts all actions. Personal initiative is self-motivation. An AE micromanaging their organization find it extremely difficult to work with self-motivated people. 

The seventh principle is a Positive Attitude, which is the means by which the AE can balance their life and relationship to people and circumstances. Everyone is born with initiative and a positive attitude. Negative attitudes are learned and fostered by daily acceptance that all negatives are true. The saying “watch what you wish for” comes true with both a positive and negative attitude. Excellence or Mediocrity is your choice as the AE.   
The eight principle is Enthusiasm, which inspires actions and is the most contagious of all emotions. Enthusiasm is the energy of your SMS. Enthusiasm is not to be smiling and happy all day long, but to have faith in your own capabilities and comprehension of your job performance. A person with enthusiasm transmits confidence to others. 

The ninth principle is Self-Discipline, which is to take control of your own mind. The power of thought is the only thing over which any human being has complete, unquestionable control. Self-discipline is a prerequisite for success.

The tenth principle is Accurate Thinking. Accurate thought involves two fundamentals. First, you, as the Accountable Executive or other organizational personnel, must separate facts from mere information or unverified postings. Second, facts must be separated into two classes: The important and the unimportant. By the habit of doing this is accurate thinking achieved.   

The eleventh principle is Controlled Attention, which is the act of coordinating all the faculties of the mind and directing their combined power to a given end. Keep your mind on the tings you want and off the things you don’t want. 

The twelfth principle is Teamwork, which is the willing cooperation and coordination of effort to achieve a common goal. Teamwork difference from the Mastermind principle in that it’s based on coordination of effort without necessarily embracing the principle of Definiteness of Purpose or the purpose of absolute harmony. 

The thirteenth principle is Adversity and Defeat. Every adversity you meet, as the AE or any other role within the organization, carries with it a seed of equivalent or grater benefit. Every problem has a solution and you have to find it. If you can look at problems as a temporary setback and stepping-stones to success, you will come to believe that the only limitations you have are the ones in your own mind. 

The fourteenth principle is Creative Vision, which is a quality of mind to follow the habit of going the extra mile with the highest aim to do what others say is impossible. 

An Accountable Executive has the power of choice to make a Winning SMS Team.

The fifteenth principle is Maintenance of Sound Health, which is to follow work with play, mental activity with physical activity and seriousness with humor.   
The sixteenth principle is Budgeting Time and Money. A successful SMS budgets and protects time spent on SMS activities in the same manner as cash spent on time. A healthy SMS is not to spend cash every time someone throws out the safety-card. A healthy SMS is budgeting time, cash and return on investment. 

The seventeenth principle is Cosmic Habitforce is the power of choice which is established by thought and behavior patterns. 

The Safety Management System at Your Amazing Airport or Airline has already made a choice between Excellence or Mediocrity. Change is if you must, or move forward with confidence. 


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