A way to begin a (good) CRM course

Every CRM course…

Every CRM course I have ever been on, bar one, started with the same thing – the instructor asking us to introduce ourselves, and then the whole room having to listen to a lot of pilots drone on about their experience.

You’ve probably all had this once or twice in your CRM lifetime as well. Listening to that one guy who worked for A airline, then B airline, then C airline went bust so he flew D aircraft for a while before going back to C again, but then E called, and he got to fly F, and did it for 10 years and then another 20 at G, where he flew H, I and J, and then moved onto the K on the L for 2 years and then L1 and L2 and L3 and L4 (all the L types) which let him for to M which was both by N and became O…. K you get it.

Then, this one time, we were asked to select a shape that “appealed to us most” from the pictures they had tacked to the wall. There was a square, a circle, a triangle, a rectangle and a squiggle. I went for the triangle (but hovered around the squiggle for a bit), and was told they meant I was assertive, creative, competitive, maybe a little impulsive and argumentative… and it gave me a real concern about squares…

And then, another time, the whole class was inflicted with ‘death by powerpoint’ on the SHELL model…
In case you haven’t experienced that, click here.

Point is, CRM can be bad. But, thankfully, it can be brilliant as well.

It is a simple plan

If you work for a small operator, have limited crew, or are running an OCC, then chances are everyone knows everyone else. So the usual “introduce yourself” will just result in X number of pilots regurgitating their history all over again.

A far better way is to give them something else talk about, but something that isn’t too scary for them to think up on the spot. For example, asking them to tell the room something interesting about themselves that no-one else knows will lead to a lot of panicked faces as they all realise they have nothing/the one person takes it as an invitation to divulge their deepest, darkest (creepiest) secret.

Using the CRM buzzword plan does a lot more. It allows them a chance to share an insight, story, idea about themselves and their experience which is a) not scary for them and b) not completely boring for the rest of the room, and c) tells you – the CRM instructor – a little more about who you are faced with because you will quickly spot the jokers/ the cocky ones/ the arrogant ones/ the experienced ones/ the good CRM ones etc etc etc.

What are the buzzwords?

There are no real rules to this, but the general usual stuff works well:

  • Decision Making
  • Leadership
  • Threat and Error Management
  • Shared mental model
  • Automation management
  • Communication
  • Company Culture
  • Safety Culture
  • Situational Awareness
  • Problem Solving
  • Workload Management
  • Resilience

Print them out, ask folk to pick one, and get them to introduce themselves, their experience, their job focus if it’s a new role, and then to say what that buzzword means to them. The room will (hopefully) get some good stories, shared experience, discussion and understanding on it.

Which is way more interesting (and useful) than hearing someone drone on about P who were bought by Q who were sold to R but then had the S and T types, and I was only rated on the U which meant a whole new type rating so I decided to got to V, W, X, Y are we still listening to this, Z…Z…z…zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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