Flight Standards Service Realignment to Strengthen Relationships

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally on the threshold of the initial Future of Flight Standards realignment. The Directors and Deputy Directors have been deeply involved in planning for that realignment,” said Executive Director John Duncan.

In anticipation of the realignment, Duncan invited new Directors Rick Domingo, Larry Fields, Bruce DeCleene and Tim Miller to join him in discussing some of the changes in the organization.

“For many of you, these leaders are familiar names and faces. I assure you, they come to us with a new mindset. We’ve developed that mindset through the cultural changes that have occurred in Flight Standards. I can’t overstress that the culture change is what’s important. The structural change facilitates that culture change,” said Duncan.

“A big part of that change is strengthening our team relationships. We need to learn how to think and act like a solid team across the Flight Standards Service,” said Larry Fields, the new Director of General Aviation Safety Assurance.       

“Actually, that’s where the new mindset plays a very important role. Through the issues of realign­ment, and the questions, it gives us plenty of opportunity to practice mutual learning behaviors,” said Tim Miller, newly appointed Director of Air Carrier Safety Assurance.

The intent of the shift remains the same—a healthy Flight Standards organization that is agile, efficient and delivers a consistent product to the public.

“We’re working interdependently, as a team. We’re applying critical thinking to those chal­lenges and issues to help the service be more agile and efficient,” said Bruce DeCleene, the new Director of Foundational Business.

While there are a lot of moving parts, there’s a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. Duncan emphasizes that the team should expect anomalies in procedures and processes as well as some possible confusion.

However, Duncan said, “Here’s where I get to be Gene Krantz in Apollo 13: Failure is not an option. If you don’t have the answer to a stakeholder’s question, our new culture is to work the problem aggressively, enthusias­tically, and interdependently — and then respond in a timely way.”

“And let me say this up front, we are all still learning how to think and act in different ways,” added Rick Domingo, the new Director of Safety Standards.

Overall, there has been a good deal of progress made in this transition and the team is very excited about approaching this milestone in the realignment plan.