Building A Winning SMS Team
Building a Winning SMS [Safety Management System] Team begins and ends with you. You are the person who holds the keys to open doors of data, information, knowledge, and comprehension. Building a Winning SMS Team is to clear a path of least resistance within a hazard environment. While building the team is to clear a path of least resistance, designing the path is to incorporate a conglomerate of tasks and to navigate insurmountable hazards. A Winning SMS Team operates at a 95% confidence level that your human factors system is in control. The difference between a 95% confidence level and a 100% confidence level that operational processes are in-control, is that there is no room for safety improvements at the 100% safe operational level.
|A Winning SMS Team is filled with energy.|
is beyond any task of designing other types of systems. SMS is a team of human factors, human behaviors and human interaction which reacts emotionally to interference from outside sources.
The first task when building the team is to design a path where emotional reactions are acceptable. During the pre-SMS times the aviation industry conventional wisdom was that a pilot could make emotional decisions for the safe operations of an aircraft. It was expected of pilots to have super-natural powers to make rational decisions to avoid hazards and manage hazardous operational conditions. Two prime examples that pilots were expected to have these powers, are the 1977 Tenerife Island disaster and the 1989 Dryden disaster. In both accidents the finding was that the pilots failed one or more tasks in one way or another by making emotional decisions rather than following procedures. Any person experiences an unexpected condition instantly has an emotional reaction to that event. The reaction could be undetected by the pilots or others, or they could be obvious to anyone. The story goes that in a single engine propeller airplane the propeller is a fan to keep the pilots cool…because they will sweat if it stops.
The second task when building the team is to design a path where variations are acceptable. In the pre-SMS days, it was expected that all pilots operated an aircraft exactly the same way, that they identified hazards without individual deviation, that they all reacted exactly the same way with their hazard avoidance actions, and that the outcome of their reaction would always be incident-free. Airlines operated with a 100% confidence level that they were 100% safe 100% of the times. When operating with this as facts, as opposed to opinions, air travel became the safest mode of travel. Whenever major accidents occurred, they were brushed away as pilot errors by a renegade pilot who willfully disrespected expectations that airliners do not crash. Variations comes from common cause variations and special cause variations. A common cause variation is always present in the process. An example is the migratory bird seasons, where birds seasonally travel, causing a common cause variable in the spring and fall. A special cause variation is not present in the process but is an unexpected event which occurred at an unexpected location at an unexpected time. When special cause variations are acceptable is when root cause analysis management becomes available. In and SMS environment, special cause variations are forced by virtual reality in operations [training] or simple brainstorming sessions [virtual testing]. The fact that one person in an enterprise had decided on what process or procedures were operational safe did not ensure safety, but rather transferred human factor elements from pilots to process designers. When variations are acceptable is when variations management, or root cause analysis becomes available.
The third task to build the team is to accept a just culture. A just culture are expectations of human behaviors within an organization. In the pre-SMS era, a just culture was what was considered by management what was just to their positions.
|Just Culture is to consider decisions from the past.|
Management’s just-culture task became a task to protect their image and decisions which were contributing factors to the disaster. The task after an accident did not always become a fact-finding mission, but rather it became an accident motive-finding mission. When building a Winning SMS Team, a just-culture is what is just for the traveling public, what is just for customer service, and what is just for you. In a just-culture environment there is trust, learning, accountability, and information sharing. Without any of the four just-culture principles there is anarchy in operational safety.
The fourth task to build the team is to accept learning, education, refresher, and training as pillars for continuous safety improvement. During pre-SMS times training was viewed as a task required to repair lack of knowledge, qualifications, or skills. Yes, it is true that pilots received recurrent training, but the intent of training was to discover and repair deficiencies rather than build on individually current job-performance skills to improve these skills beyond regulatory requirements. Within an organizational culture that embraces training, training becomes a non-punitive reaction to unintended operational events. E.g. if a pilot taxi across taxiway lights because the turn was missed, in a non-training environment a recurrent training due to the incident becomes the punitive action that a pilot does not appreciate. While the same scenario in a training-accepted environment, the refresher training becomes a welcome task for continuous job performance improvement.
The fifth task to build the team is to accept personnel involvement or initiative. A person who is actively involved comprehend safety in operations at a higher level that a person who passively must accept demands from management to maintain their job. Involving a person is to actively involve the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. If one or more of these senses are removed from the involvement equation, there is an increase in organizational hazard level.
The sixth task to build the team is to accept job-performance variances between individuals. Job performance variances are discovered by conducting non-disqualifying operational audits where individual review their findings for possible self-adjusting behaviors.
|Within these numbers are all answers to be discovered.|
The seventh task to build the team is feedback from you and feedback to you. Feedback comes in all shapes and forms and is more
than a standardized feedback answer. Feedback is interaction between personnel, interaction within the enterprise environment, interaction with policies, interaction with project solutions and interaction with leadership motivation. Feedback is the Nucleus within an Enterprise where positive and negative emotional charges are balanced as sensed by the five sense. When emotional charges are balanced an Enterprise is operating within a user-friendly Safety Management System scaled to size and complexity of the Enterprise.
The beauty of a Winning SMS Team is their generous output of project solutions and motivational management.