Friday, June 11, 2010

The Culture at the FAA’s Core



I was listening to the Marketplace podcast (again) and this piece really blew me away.

”Monkey see, monkey do. It's not a new observation. We're all natural mimics, especially in close-knit groups. Take any bunch of journalists, senators, gangsters, truckers or Wall Street bankers, and you'll find an astonishing array of similarities -- in the way they dress, walk, think, spend money, even raise children.

It's all rather amusing until it gets out of control. That is, when a couple of really bad actors influence a whole religion or industry until "bad actor" becomes the default position. And yes, I'm talking about religious extremists. But I'm also talking about Goldman Sachs and their whole entitled ilk. How did "Bankers Behaving Badly" get to be so "normal" that people barely notice?“


Think about that oddball team in your Area of the ARTCC. Or the oddball Area in Center. Or that one facility that has always been just a little different -- forever. Then think of the culture at the FAA.

Remember -- the FAA fired most of their controllers in 1981. They pushed a bunch more out from 2006 until 2008 (when the economy went south and slowed down the rush for the door). It’s pretty obvious to me that the FAA’s “culture problem” doesn’t spring from controllers because it doesn’t change -- even though the FAA keeps changing controllers.

”It's all rather amusing until it gets out of control. That is, when a couple of really bad actors influence a whole religion or industry... “

Or a Federal Agency.

When you read (or listen to) the rest of the article and realize that this phenomenon is hard wired into our brains, you realize how tough it will be to ever change the FAA’s “culture”.

Don Brown
June 11, 2010

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