I read an interesting paper that discusses culture and its impact on aviation safety. At least it was interesting to me. I suppose if you are not interested in that sort of thing, it can be some dry reading. It was written by Robert L. Helmreich, a Ph. D. who is considered by many to be the godfather of crew resource management discipline which has been credited with changing the whole safety culture in aviation.
If you (like myself) want to change project management culture, read on.
There was one aspect in particular that was very intriguing to me as a project manager and team leader. We are talking culture change here. What is one of the biggest barriers to culture change? Distrust. More specifically, distrust that management (or the instigators of the desired culture change) truly believe in it and have the right motives. In aviation, the distrust was (or is) that management was really more concerned with profits and not really committed to safety.
What is it in project organizations? A distrust that we are more concerned with political gain? Making ourselves look good? Hitting the numbers? That this is just another initiative that we won't care about in x months? Or [fill in the blank]? Are we really sincere about creating an environment of great teams that makes customers happy and stops the firefighting....an organization that team members will be proud to participate in it?
Dr. Helmreich's paper suggests that no words can compensate for distrust. It takes actions and proof over time.
So the question is, what message are your actions conveying to your teams? Is there sincerity? Do you have the right motives? Are you in it for the long hall?
Happy project piloting...