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In advance of this year’s CHC Safety & Quality Summit, Oct. 1-3 in Dallas, Texas, we asked some of the speakers to give us a preview of what they’ll be sharing with summit attendees. Here, George Ayokunle Santos of Loben Limited shares his thoughts on compliance — and why current approaches to seeking compliance may actually be counterproductive. Click here to learn more about the summit and here to register.
Vertical: How did you get involved with safety?
George Santos: I began my career flying in 1991 as a professional pilot in the offshore oil-and-gas industry in the North Sea and West Africa. From there, I got involved in crew resource management (CRM) training/management before eventually branching into organizational safety, specializing in soft skills. Today, I am the principal consultant of Loben Limited, which develops systems based upon a pragmatic approach to the development and management of safety/training systems (regulatory and non-regulatory), procedures, programs and manuals for international clients. I have been a regular speaker at the summit and look forward to this event each year.
Vertical: Tell us about your presentation at the CHC Safety & Quality Summit. What will you be focusing on?
GS: I will be giving two presentations at this year’s CHC Safety & Quality Summit. The first, titled “Compliance? Big Deal!” addresses why and how to develop a culture of willful and habitual adherence to rules. It talks to the need for a change from people doing the right thing because they “fear” getting caught if they don’t, to how to promote the principle of doing the right thing because you want to (and you know it’s the right thing to do). The session also addresses how that culture enhances our bottom line.
My second presentation, titled “Safety Practices – Embracing Conduct, Escaping Convenience,” addresses how to manage the tendency of first responses to corporate issues being biased towards the most convenient options. These responses are at the expense of targeted and lasting results, which themselves lead to further system failures, with the cycle repeating itself. Looking at the bigger picture and accepting that the organization may have played a contributory role is often not the first instinct of industry leaders but, without doing that, we tend to fix the specific event rather than the underlying causes — so we shouldn’t be surprised when something similar happens again.
Vertical: What is one surprising thing you’ll be sharing with attendees?
GS: How certain industry buzz words like “compliance” may ultimately not be a good culture to encourage for long-term results. While there is clearly a need for a compliant culture, we need to change the way we seek to ensure it happens.
Vertical: Who do you think should attend your presentation, and why?
GS: Industry decision makers interested in making major corporate policy changes would be the primary audience but, in truth, anyone with a role to play in the aviation industry should attend. The two presentations are not just focused on the decision makers but will hopefully have something to offer folks who are in support roles, in the cockpit, in the hangar, or on the ramp.
Vertical: What is one change you would make to improve safety in the helicopter industry?
GS: I would encourage decision makers to consider alternative ways of thinking to start addressing true root causal factors of situations being addressed, rather than settling for the convenient “universally accepted norms.” These alternative ways are based upon developing a sound understanding of human factors/behavior.