Stick The Landing

I saw this picture and it made think about compliance. At its most basic, the plane did land, the aviators did not die, and the aircraft carrier is still floating.

But it was a not a compliant landing.

The plane, the aircraft carrier, and the pilot are all damaged to some extent. That it was not fatal to any of them does mean it was good. Although, better than the alternative.

Compliance is not a success if merely sticks the landing. It needs to monitor the entire flight plan, to make sure things are on track for a good landing. You need reporting along the way and a judgment on the final result. Merely noting that something landed misses the point.

I don’t know what lead to this landing. Obviously, something went wrong. So perhaps this landing was a good result given the circumstances. Being able to walk away from a situation could be considered a success if things were really bad.

In the business world that more likely means that you ended up talking the lawyers instead of the compliance group. The lawyers figure out how to get you out of trouble. Compliance tries to keep you from getting into trouble. Both want you to stick the landing.


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3 Responses to Stick The Landing

  1. Jacqueline August 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    Great differentiation – “..lawyers figure out how to get you out of trouble. Compliance tries to keep you from getting into trouble.” Love the photo too! :)

  2. Asher Ailey August 3, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

    I disagree with this although I appreciate the photo and the topic. Compliance cannot and will not be everywhere at all times to ensure that all landings will be smooth. We cannot monitor every flight from the control tower and we cannot be on the radio with the pilot to ensure that s/he is aware of the wind conditions, for example, as s/he is approaching the runway. The reality of the situation is that Compliance simply needs to help build a process and regularly test that it is working. If the control tower failed to provide updated information to the pilot or the pilot failed to listen to it on approach, and an accident occurred, my view is that, save for Compliance not correcting a known deficiency, procedural error(s) by the pilot or control tower led to the outcome. Compliance should play a key role in examining why these procedural errors occurred and then help implement controls or new procedures to mitigate a recurrence. In other words, Compliance definitely needs to ensure that landings are compliant and are following a process, but it cannot monitor all activity to essentially police or control an outcome. The business or in this case, the aviation team (pilot and control tower) needs to follow the procedures built for landings and work with Compliance to make improvements if something is awry.

    • Doug Cornelius August 10, 2017 at 8:34 am #

      Great thoughts Asher.

      I think compliance differs greatly from firm to firm and varies with the volume of things it needs to monitor. You are absolutely correct that compliance can’t monitor everything. You need to take a risk-based approach to focus more on the things more likely to go wrong that may have the most negative impact.

      Obviously, we can’t tell what went wrong from this single image. We can’t tell who made the mistake or what mistake was made.

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