In her last post, Kerstin Mumenthaler dealt
with crisis management. Your current column is about recovery – and why after the crisis is always before the crisis.

Share your experience – this phrase is actually lived in the airline world, even beyond company boundaries. When it comes to security, the competition stops, and that’s a good thing. We have probably one of the best error cultures in the aviation industry. Accidents, but also smaller incidents, are carefully analyzed and evaluated – always with a view to possible improvement potential. In my opinion, one of the most important characteristics of a good pilot is the ability to criticize and the drive to admit and communicate your own mistakes. This requires a very open culture in the company and the security that no disciplinary measures will result from the report. In addition, it also needs personalities who do not correspond to the macho cliché.

Debriefing on the sustainable improvement of the safety culture

In addition to reporting and various other systems, debriefings are also used very successfully – by the way, key point 8 of the #clearedtoland success principle. The hierarchies are expressly almost eliminated. Personal sensitivities or vanities have no place, but a real exchange of experiences. Position or experience are neglected here; on the contrary, a culture is promoted in which the youngest crew member can and should give feedback to the most experienced captain.

After the crisis is before the crisis

What does this have to do with recovery from crisis situations? In companies with a similar culture and way of working, you would see a constant improvement process. As a consultant, however, I experience time and again how neglected dealing with a crisis is. The top management level very often withdraws with the supposed end of the acute situation, leaving the employees with both the return to the old (or, as now, “new”) normality and the search for opportunities for improvement. Unfortunately, after the crisis is always before the crisis. Companies that manage to use analysis and debriefing to identify points with potential for improvement (i.e. their lesson learned) and to incorporate them into the company will cope better with the situation next time – because the question is not if, but only when the next crisis comes.