The Normalization of Excellence



The theme for Safety Standdown 2018 is the Normalization of Excellence. At first glance, these words may seem contradictory, after all, excellence isn’t normal, it’s exceptional. Excellence is achieved by the best of the best – it wins Super Bowls and Olympic gold medals. If you move from the field to flight deck, shouldn’t the flight crew, maintenance technicians and flight department managers be exceptional in every aspect of their operation?

The reality is, that on most days, we can be just good without any consequences. Too little sleep, a pre-flight check that was more of a glance and shortcuts to standard operating procedures are usually innocuous, but they have an insidious way of becoming the norm. The normalization of deviation, as it is known, relies on luck and hope that nothing strays from the ordinary, because when it does – and history has proven it will – good will not be good enough.

The normalization of excellence flips the normalization of deviance on its head. Rather than accept deviation from the standard as the norm, Dr. Tony Kern proposes that excellence be the norm every time, without exception. In practical terms, it is a call to you and all aviation professionals to commit to not cut corners in any situation. In the minds of those who adopt this value, the pressure of making every choice is diminished because there is no question that they will always do the right thing and be excellent at work.

In 2018, with the Normalization of Excellence as its theme, the Safety Standdown program will challenge you to raise your game in terms of professionalism. Our experts will provide the information and the tools to create a culture within your flight department where the norm is a job exceptionally well done, and gold medal performances are a daily occurrence.



Jason Karadimas

Safety Manager, Demonstration Pilot
Global/ Challenger,  Bombardier Business Aircraft

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What If Your Own Story Changed The World?

Safety Standdown has a very simple but effective recipe to keep safety a top priority year-round: Learn. Apply. Share.

This three-prong approach is crucial for developing personal accountability. Doing each of those actions individually is helpful, but it’s the combination of Learning, Applying and Sharing, that elevates safety efforts to the next level of professionalism.

This concept is effective because experiences and stories stay stronger in the mind than informational statements because the context is visualized. You are more likely to remember a detailed story of a near-miss, rather than a statistic regarding degrees of error threats in various stages of the flight.

In line with our on-going theme of Attention Control Techniques, we challenge you to be conscious of when you are learning new material or skills, applying it for the first time, and then sharing it with your colleagues. You may be surprised at how often you do it in everyday life.

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Professional experience makes us wiser through every challenge we overcome.  Take these experiences one step further and share them with your peers, who are likely to face similar issues.

Trending safety topics:

Those are just a few examples of human factors risks worth discussing. Now it’s your turn to start a conversation! Tell us what you learned, applied, and shared recently.

Share Your Story

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