PINC: 3 Reasons Why Aviation May Have Created Its Own Monster

Frankenstein's_monsterProcedural Intentional Non-Compliance (PINC) came to the forefront of concern with the Bedford Gulfstream Accident. The NTSB Report Summary stated ” A review of data from the airplane’s quick access recorder revealed that the pilots had neglected to perform complete flight control checks before 98% of their previous 175 takeoffs in the airplane, indicating that this oversight was habitual and not an anomaly.”

Habitual and not an anomaly. How can this happen?

It is a question with which many have been wrestling. We’d like to think that this flight crew was an anomaly among professionals. We propose that many pilots are on the verge of sub-coming to a similar mindset. How could the aviation industry have created such a monster as PINC? Here are three reasons to consider if we really want to find a solution.

Reason #1: The Regulatory Agencies Have Swung a Stick for Far Too Long

There is a place for government oversight. The problem is that the minimum standards set in place for certification and re-certification have continued to snowball to the point that we are so busy meeting minimum, after minimum, after minimum that there is little time or money left to do something beyond the “minimum”. Little support for getting better. Just a firm reminder that you “must meet minimum standards…or else”. Being constantly told what to do doesn’t encourage people to think or take ownership of their actions. Big sticks don’t do much for motivating people either. In fact, if you continue to swing the stick long enough, some people will just flat out refuse to comply. They become rebellious. Sounds a lot like Procedural Intentional Non-Compliance.

Reason #2: The Professional Organizations Keep Moving the Carrot Just a Little Farther Ahead

Realizing that punitive efforts were doing little to increase safety practices and promote good training, numerous professional organizations began to offer incentives for those who desired change. Offering prestigious certifications, alerting us to “hot topics”, encouraging us to buy the latest and greatest training program that rivaled our peers would surely help move the industry along, they thought. And it did, to a point. The problem with incentives is that one must continue to offer a sweeter carrot or else attempt to keep it just out of reach if one wants to keep people moving forward.

An alarming trend that Flight Level Training Solutions has noted is the increasing number of large corporations who are becoming bitter towards training. They have gained the certifications, taken the suggested courses and workshops, and purchased the fancy training packages. And yet, there is always just “one more thing” that is needed in order to keep their status. Meeting minimums coupled with meeting professional standards has become so consuming that they have little time and money to spend on initiatives that are relevant and specific to their own operation.

Reason #3: Apathy Has Begun To Set In

If some professional pilots have turned their backs in rebellion and others are growing disheartened and bitter toward safety and training, what do we have left? Those who have learned not to care. Those who have been conditioned to believe if you don’t expect much then you won’t be disappointed. Not a pretty picture.

So how can we begin to motivate people and set our course aright?

Motivation is Key to Setting a New Course

In our article How to Inspire Motivation in a Box Checking World , we discuss the difference between extrinsic (sticks and carrots) and intrinsic motivation (doing things because we know them to be right). There are three key elements that build the foundation for an intrinsically motivating workplace.

  1. Autonomy – the urge to direct our own lives
  2. Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters
  3. Purpose – yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

Drawing upon these elements, we propose that a remedy for PINC and the growing bitterness and apathy toward training and safety initiatives is found by encouraging flight departments to assess their own needs, devise their own solutions, to work as a team, to celebrate their success, to learn from their failures and to share their knowledge with others. Sound like a tall order? It is. But it can be done.

It starts with collaboration within the workplace. It doesn’t come from top down initiatives. And it doesn’t sustain itself by laying the burden solely on Training and Safety Managers or Executive Leadership. They burn out all too fast.

It grows from the center out. It is sustained by the people who do the job because they like directing their own lives. They enjoy getting better at something that matters. And they take pleasure in knowing that their safety and training initiatives are helping their colleagues, their department, their organization, and their customers.

And best of all, when people have a say in what they create, they naturally take ownership and interest.

When people who do the work come together to solve problems, train, and motivate each other, they don’t create monsters. They create something that is practical, meaningful, and unique to them.

People are not the problem. People are the solution. At least that’s the way we see it. How about you?

For More Infgormation on the solution, read PINC Part 2: Concocting a Solution to Intentional Non-Compliance in Aviation

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