Nightmare at 20,000 feet
On 30th of January, 2016, two hours into its journey, a British Airways plane deployed its landing gear. To the pilot’s horror, the landing gear failed as two of the five sets of wheels had broken. Despite the malfunction, the heroic pilot remained calm, and with the help of emergency services on the ground at Heathrow airport, managed to turn the plane around and touch down the packed passenger jet smoothly.
Imagine sitting on the flight and realising the captain is your boss and the cabin crew are your team. Ask yourself: with the same technical expertise, will this plane land safely?
Are you confident your team would have:
- noticed the fault
- reported it
- made a decision
- taken action
- communicated the situation clearly and calmly?
For those of us who have worked in financial services, the answer is possibly … but only with the right team.
Depending on the bank and its prevailing culture, all too often we see teams exhibiting negative and dysfunctional behaviours:
- a lack of relevant metrics and tracking
- confusion and uncertainty created by avoiding difficult issues
- some problems not even shared or discussed
- indecision paralysing progress while failure is blamed on external factors
- decisions often coerced through authority and power
- meaningful action resisted (responding only to others’ plans)
- individual goals taking priority over team success
- an atmosphere of pessimism and defeat, and a lack of belief in others
- collaboration between team members sparse and not actively managed
With these behaviours, individual agenda is usually more important than bank strategy, as people look either simply to keep their job or to get promoted.
A catastrophic ‘plane crash’ happened on the 1st of August 2012. A seemingly innocuous software deployment started a chain of events that would cause major disruptions to the world’s financial markets and ultimately the devastating failure of the trading firm Knight Capital. A company with nearly $400 million in assets went bankrupt in 45-minutes because of a failed deployment. To add insult to injury the SEC ordered Knight Capital Americas LLC to pay $12 million in relation to this incident.
- Did they notice the fault? Far too late.
- Did they report it? Badly.
- And when it was time to make a decision? The plane had crashed.
You are a passenger on that plane and survival is in the hands of your team. Would your team work smoothly in a crisis? Would they openly monitor and track, make decisions, take action on time, and exercise expertise? Would they work professionally, respecting each other and work as a team to coordinate a safe landing? Are you confident in the attitude of your team members and the actions they will take?
Do you feel safe?
If the answers to these questions isn’t yes, ask yourself:
- Do you want to be something different?
- Do you want to be part of a team that can make this happen?
- Do you want to be part of a team that can be proud of what they do daily?
If you do, is there a way? And who can make this change?
The good news is – you can. Here’s how:
- Measure everything.
- Have metrics at your fingertips.
- Empower great decision making at the right level.
- Be proactive.
- Promote a culture of open and honest dialogue and encourage positive enquiry.
To find out how to drive behavioural development in your team, join our 2017 Catalyst Adaptive Enterprise Study here.