Air Transport World

The human element. (employee motivation)

Dressed by dramatic and continual changes, airlines and other business organizations gradually are putting together a new framework of management philosophies to compete more effectively. They incorporate a wide range of approaches and techniques, many designed to place employees and customers-- the human element--at the core of corporate concern.

"Quality" is the key word, as it was in earlier attempts. But now, "quality" is achieved through a variety of approaches that, while reaching the mainstream of business thought, were considered alien just a few years ago, too far-out for consideration.

The corporate search for quality traditionally has emphasized technology, economy and engineering.

However, "by following only that rational, logical approach, we missed out on so many of the elements, such as feelings and intuition," says Diann Dwyer, manager-leadership and management development at Qantas.

The problem is that in emphasizing machines, process and money, the human being--who must make everything work--becomes a mere production unit. The result: Pride is trampled. When that happens, "forget about quality," because quality is about people as much as it is mechanical process, says Dwyer. By contrast, if the environment builds selfesteem, "a lot of those other things, like intuition and creativity, can bubble up" and allow people to perform to their potential, says Dwyer.

British Airways is one airline that is navigating the new skies of revolutionary management successfully, and despite the great human cost it paid to reform, people in the organization now "talk very comfortably about emotions," says Chris Byron, senior general manager-manpower.

More than 10 years ago, what BA started was quite a revolution, bringing on comments such as "psychological mumbo-jumbo, Americanism and so forth," Byron says. "But when people began to see the results and realized the benefits of this, we got the true commitment." Now, the early resistance "sounds so incredibly old-fashioned, because it is so deeply rooted into the organization," he says. Placing the focus on the human element is one of the steps that many airlines have experimented with under the coaching of Time Manager International, a leading training organization headquartered in Denmark, with associate partners around the world.

Before it coached BA, TMI built its reputation when it helped SAS through a radical corporate culture change in the early 1980s. Founder Claus Moller is considered one of the eight preeminent quality gurus in the world.

According to the U.K. Dept. of Trade and Industry, the term "guru" means "a charismatic individual whose concept and approach to quality within business has made a major and lasting impact."

Moller bases his approach on what he refers to as "the human side of quality." In his view,. there's a striking difference between "hard" and "soft" quality. The first applies to technology, methods, systems, goals, finances, organizations, rules, procedures, chains of command and all other technical aspects of a company. …

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