There is a high level of denial of personal vulnerability that is characteristic of the professional culture of not only pilots but also managers in demanding positions who make big decisions every day and are open to public scrutiny. Managers may be faced with high stress or high-demand conditions where multiple tasks must be performed under time pressure and under complex and often ambiguous conditions. This is where effective performance is most needed. However, these high-stress or high-demand conditions exact a price on performance and evidence indicates the effects of stress are costly in terms of individual performance and organizational productivity.
Stress requires specialized skills training to maintain effective performance in high-stress environments and the flight simulator is the perfect place to practice these skills.
For businesses and organisations, decisions are not as monumental as for in-flight emergencies or surgery. But failures to make optimum choices can be extremely costly to businesses and organizations. Where people work, mistakes are made, omissions occur, and clear thinking is often displaced by a false sense of knowing what is going on and decision-making is suboptimal. More and more people are being tasked with making decisions that are likely to be biased – because of the presence of too much information, time pressure, simultaneous choice, or some other constraints. Thinking hard about a decision is not enough; managers need to think about it in the right way especially when common sense and intuition can sometimes fail us in time of greatest need.
This module focuses attention on strategies that will improve judgment and knowledge leading to better decisions. People put great trust in their intuition. The past 50 years of decision-making research challenges that trust. We will introduce tools that cut through the irrelevant and potentially harmful, and give decision makers a supportive structure to their decision-making, which can be practiced in the simulator with some challenging scenarios.
We make sense of the world around us by making a three-dimensional picture in our heads of what we believe reality to be. Threat recognition and error avoidance are associated with situational awareness and represent a proactive response that can be observed when groups share and evaluate the situation and include contextual factors in planning.
The main part of this module uses some case studies to increase awareness of threat & error management. In the simulator, you will be able to apply some of the learnt skills.
Team leaders need to be willing and able to set the climate for trust within the team, through their own relationships. The leader therefore has an important role in modeling honesty and vulnerability in order to build this trust and the simulator (unfamiliar) environment is an excellent tool to set the scene. In addition, in the flight simulator all team members will share the same common goal and objective, which will enhance overall team orientation. It will also force leaders to operate in multiple dimensions rather then being almost exclusively task oriented, recognizing the human element and eliciting the support of the other team members. Leaders will begin to understand the impact of their own style and behaviour on the team dynamic.
“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished” – George Bernard Shaw
Research has indicated that effective employee communication is a leading indicator of financial performance and a driver of employee management. Companies that are highly effective communicators have higher total returns to shareholders.
Communication underpins the core elements of situational awareness, co-operation and decision-making. In the flight simulator, the communication process used in aviation will help to develop management teams to develop a shared mental model of the problems which need to be resolved, thereby enhancing situational awareness, and it also allows problem solving to be shared amongst crew members, distributing workload and management functions. Most importantly, it establishes the interpersonal climate between team members and is therefore a key element in setting the tone for the management of a company.