CASE: Developing a Training Package at Westcan (Conclusion)
Chris told Karen about the conversation with Irven and what she had put together. Chris said, “What remains is to develop the simulation. Can you help?”
“Sure,” said Karen, “but it’s too bad you are so far along. I might have been able to help you design the training.”
Chris indicated that she had not put a great deal of time into designing the training and was open to any suggestions.
Karen suggested that Chris consider doing a needs analysis. “In a way, you completed a partial operational analysis by determining what is required in running an effective meeting. What we do not know is where the managers are deficient; we call that a person analysis. One way to obtain that information is to ask the managers to describe how their meetings currently run and the areas they see as ineffective. Their answers should reflect the areas in which they are deficient. Also, by asking the managers what training they want, we could ensure that the training is relevant. Another method would be to sit in and observe how they run their meetings. It would allow us to identify deficiencies they might be unaware of,” said Karen. Karen noted that in her brief time at Westcan, it seemed that premeeting information was well distributed and understood, agendas were given, and notice of meetings always contained the relevant information.
“You might be right,” said Chris. “I simply never thought of asking them.” Together they developed a questionnaire asking questions related to effective meetings, such as, “What would you like to see contained in a one-day effective meeting workshop?” and “How well do the meetings with your staff stay on track?” They also got permission to sit in on a number of meetings.
TRAINING IN ACTION 9-1: Evaluation: What It Is Used for Matters
For 30 years, British Airways maintained a system in all its aircraft that monitors everything done by the aircraft and its pilots. This information is examined continuously to determine any faulty aircraft mechanisms and to constantly assess the skill level of the pilots. When a pilot is flagged as having done “steep climbs” or “hard” or “fast landings,” for example, the pilot is targeted for training to alleviate the skill deficiency. The training is used, therefore, as a developmental tool to continuously improve the performance of pilots. The evaluation is not used as a summative measure of performance upon which disciplinary measures might be taken. The result for British Airways, one of the largest airlines in the world, is one of the best safety records in the world.
In the past, one of the major ways of determining problems in the airline industry in North America was to wait until an accident occurred and then examine the black box to find the causes. The findings might indicate pilot error or some problem with the aircraft. This information was then sent to all the major airlines for their information. This form of summative evaluation met with disastrous results. Recently, six major American airlines began a program similar to the one at British Airways. After all, it makes sense to track incidents and make changes (in aircraft design or pilot skill level) as soon as a problem is noticed. In this way, major incidents are more likely to be avoided. In fact, airlines are using the evaluation information gathered as a feedback mechanism to ensure the continuous improvement of performance and not as a summative evaluation of “failure.”
This seemingly effective way of ensuring high performance threatened to come to an end in the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wanted to access this information for possible use as a way to evaluate pilots. The airlines feared that the information given to the FAA could be used to punish both pilots and the airlines. Fortunately, these regulations were never put into place and both the airlines and the FAA continue to use this cockpit information as a means of continuously improving safety and pilot performance by improving the training of pilots.
Source: Adapted from: Orr, B. Toward safer skies. 2001. Available at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/03/05/eveningnews/main276466.shtml