PJP 028 | Cut Business Aviation Costs By Communicating Better

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Clear communication in business aviation can lower costs and add extra value for an owner or operator. From safety and service to schedules, staffing, and organization setup, better communication leads to better results for everyone.

Unfortunately, not everyone communicates effectively. We’ve all experienced it… poor communication leading to poor performance.

So, why is communicating clearly such a challenge? And, how can we improve communication to cut costs and better serve business aviation owners and operators?

Communication Headwinds

Communication is hearing what's NOT being said. -Peter Drucker

Three factors contribute to communication breakdowns within aviation teams.

Backgrounds

As business aviation continues to mature, we can expect new training to emerge to help us communicate better. Until then, it's a fact… our professional backgrounds have not included much (if any) training on how to communicate.

Beliefs

Are messages always received correctly? Of course not. Unfortunately, we usually don't realize that our message missed the target until it's too late. Up until then, we believed that our message was clear and concise. Interestingly in many cases, everyone else likely knew that the message was confusing!

Behaviors

Backgrounds and beliefs lead to certain behaviors based on communicating. When you hear, “takeoff power,” would you set power for takeoff… or would you reduce (take off) power? Our background and belief lineage can dramatically affect behavior during communication events.

Communication Commonalities

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.  -George Bernard Shaw

All organizations share communication challenges. Why? Because all organizations are made up of people with varying perspectives.

Unfortunately, in business aviation we don't typically teach communication (outside of Crew Resource Management inside of the cockpit). For instance, when did your team last attend communication training?

And, even though we spend millions of dollars on smartphones, software, email, text, cloud calendars, and more… communication continues to frustrate and cost money.

In this episode, we cover the specific ways that poor communication increases business aviation costs.

Tools To Communicate Better

The required equipment for improving communication can be simple, inexpensive, and available right away.

Start with values conversations throughout the team. In addition, make communication a value in your business aviation culture. Finally, lead your team through the MBTI. This experience opens eyes and quickly gets people running in a more congruent direction.

Keys to Communicating Better

People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. -President Roosevelt

Pilots and mechanics might be from Mars. Principals and Aviation Directors might be from Venus. Until we determine who's from where, we can lean on certain time-tested keys to communicating better.

  • Culture
  • Situational & Contextual Awareness
  • Trust Building (hint, listening)
  • Listen, Listen, Listen
  • Empathy, Not Ego
  • Specific & Explicit Phraseology
  • Open Mindedness
  • Candor
  • Making Words Count
  • Two Up, Down, Sideways
  • Avoid The Void

Press play at the top of this page to listen to the episode for a detailed discussion of each bullet above.

Communication Foundations

What makes up good communication in business, corporate, and private aviation? First, make clear what's important. Then, be specific about who does what. Next, outline what to do and when to do it. Finally, define the expected result.

Press play at the top of the page to hear real-world examples of these foundations in action.

Takeaway

Improving communication in business aviation can cut costs without sacrificing safety or service. It's a cost effective way to reduce risk and increase value for an owner or operator. And, it makes everyone happier and everything more fun!

Questions

  1. How would you rate communication effectiveness in your aviation team: 1 = weak, 10 = strong?
  2. What one thing would improve communication effectiveness within your aviation department?
  3. What communication techniques and strategies have helped cut costs in your business aviation organization?

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