When people move from the Commercial Aviation into the Business Aviation, they often fall into a sort of…… uncomfortable feelings.
Myself included, I really felt awkward when I had my first experience in the field.
I remember on my Day 1, I have been escorted into the offices and presented to everybody, every single person in there, from operations to finance not forgetting about Management and, of course, the CEO. The CEO walked towards me and welcomed me on my first day by giving me a handshake and said “Martina, nice to meet you. Welcome!”.
How many time did this happened in Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Lufthansa or British? Never. Never in a lifetime you will be having the chance to meet the Managers unless you did something extremely good, or extremely bad.
In Business Aviation this familiarity and warm welcome is absolutely normal. Getting to know faces, share few words and try to learn something of your fellow colleagues even from other departments is absolutely genuine and natural.
Another thing that shocked me was the staff number. In Commercial, I have been a four digit staff number for Air Dolomiti and a six digit staff number for Emirates. I would like to emphasise the word “digits”.
In Private Aviation, your staff number is a three-letter code made out of your name and surname. Stop for a moment and think about how different it is….. you are not a number, you a re a three-letter code obtained from your name and surname. Isn’t it much more personal? Don’t you find it warmer and more human? And this procedure works for all Business Aviation Operators, all around.
Another big difference that I found difficult to cope with at the beginning was the management of trust.
In Commercial Airline we are all used to receive orders, and you are just expected to follow them. No vertical delegation from Management to Crew, just orders and no free will or self organisation.
In Business Aviation is exactly the opposite, but pay attention and mark my words: this is not laziness or negligence, is trust.
A very interesting book called “The 7 habits of highly effective people” written by Stephen Covey says: “Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best of people .But it takes time and patience and it doesn’t preclude the necessity to train and develop people (…)”.
In Business Aviation this is every day reality and couldn’t be more actual. The focus is on effectiveness. The Private Jet Operator says to its Crew: “ I want you to make the customer happy. Do whatever you need to do in order to achieve this goal.”
This approach involves a completely different type of delegation, it changes the type of relationship, in fact. The Crew becomes its own boss, driven by an ethic that is driven by the agreed commitment.
The crew has the authorisation, the resources, the time to find a way to reach the ultimate goal. More than everything, they have the trust of their organisation. And you will be surprised to see how many things can be done when you feel trusted!
People become creative, develop ideas and energy and spend them all in whatever is necessary to achieve the results.
There are guidelines of course: you have to work in a safe environment, guarantee safety to your customers, you have a budget for catering, you have deadlines to respect and you have some standards of service that you can’t miss.
But beyond that, it’s all in your hands, and this is the best feeling I have ever felt in a working environment.