Course Information: Leading Change in SMS


Tuition: $2,500.00 USD

Nurturing and growing a Just Culture toward Enhanced Organizational Effectiveness

Turning theory into practice remains a significant challenge across all disciplines of aviation. As we evolve and grow into an era where Safety Management Systems are the norm, we uncover challenges that the old mind set cannot effectively address. The theory tells us one thing but the reality does not match it. The infamous quote by Dr Stephen Covey “We cannot solve today’s problems at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them” has never been more relevant than in today’s struggle to ‘transform’ into a ‘Just Culture’. No longer is ‘managing change’ an option, todays challenges mandate transformational leadership and the LCSMS workshop will help guide us towards that desired end state! We must lead change!

Throughout the last four decades as globalization becomes the norm, the management of safety has achieved impressive levels of effectiveness and is now the envy of all the other high consequence industries, but there remains a challenge. The challenge is to not only maintain our impressive levels of safety, but also create a lasting Just culture. The organizational and human factors challenges that impede change abound. Too often decision makers remain entrenched in the false belief that technology is the panacea and can solve all the problems and challenges we face. This approach has proven to be ineffective so we need another approach.

In this workshop, through case studies, interactive exercises, and dynamic classroom discussion we will examine the latest theories and concepts on organizational change, implementation of preventive measures that actually work and examine the processes and behaviours that are required to develop a Just Culture. Not only will we study the potential processes and solutions to overcome the challenges, we will also examine the ‘traditional’ barriers to change. Bottom line, in SMS we need a new ‘paradigm’ to manage safety, of leading safety, and we will explore the options available; moreover each participant will develop a personal ‘game plan’ to assist them in their journey of leading change.

Comments from past workshop participants

  • “The video case studies helped tie the lesson concepts together. Varying backgrounds helped provide different perspectives. Very in-depth discussions about SMS and its implementation; balanced material with real life examples”
  • “Despite coming from ‘another industry (sic)’, where development and use of SMS is different than aviation, the course exceeded my expectations and provided valuable insights and information that are applicable. Thank you SCSI & Gary!”
  • “The application of real life examples. The case studies were very interesting”
  • “The interaction”
  • “Well done and hats off to Gary for giving us the tools we need to effect positive change”
  • “Very good balance between discussions, presentations, case studies and ‘side-talk’”

Topics Covered

Review of ICAO's Four Components of an SMS and where they will create challenges

Who are the stakeholders in any organization?

Type of resistance/barriers to change in organizations

Why do people resist change?

  • Fear of change, the unknown and loss of control (Loss of position, money, prestige)
  • Time constraints
  • Lack of skills to deal with people or understand the tools of the change
  • Adverse to "touchy-feely" people issues
  • Negative expectations that change is simply the latest "fad"

Ways to overcome resistance to change

  • Senior management communicated their support for the new changes
  • Use organization wide communication on the need for change
  • Senior managers are strong models/champions for the change
  • Change design team consisting of persons from different levels/departments in the organization
  • Implementation team consisting of persons from different levels/depts in the organizations
  • Communicated vision for how the organization would operate after the change (Answer: "How will this impact me?")
  • Conduct employee focus groups
  • Conduct manager focus groups
  • Survey users of the current system for input into the new system changes
  • Gain support of "opinion leaders"
  • Gain support from "formal and informal" leaders
  • Show consequences of "change" is better than consequences of "no change"
  • Constant support for change from all levels of management
  • Consistent and clear message about the change

Systems you can put into places to promote change

  • Training and education
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Leadership development
  • Employee opinion surveys
  • Tie compensation to performance
  • Performance management appraisal
  • Recruitment — hire new people
  • Establish a "champion" for change
  • Integrate change into overall strategic plan
  • Senior executives participate in "no exception" education and training
  • Senior executives frequently state the business case for change
  • Senior executives have a portion of compensation tied to change success
  • Just senior executives?
  • How much compensation tied to success?
  • Evaluate initial response to training on the change
  • Evaluate how well participants learned the facts of the change (reason, new SOPs, new job descriptions, etc.)
  • Evaluate Behavior to see if Behavior has changed
  • Evaluate Results of the change: Did you achieve desired results of change?

A Safety Manager's SMS Toolbox — How to foster trust to evolve into a Just Culture

Organizational Culture

  • The levels
  • The assumptions
  • Accidents in High Consequence Industries A Systems Approach to Managing Change in a Safety Culture


  • Organizational Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • How to Unleash the Power of Safety Forums/Meetings

Utilizing the Three Mediums of Communication towards Organizational Effectiveness

How to Laterally Market Safety Across Organizational Boundaries

Breaking Down Organizational Silos

Change — When to Lead and when to Manage

Evolution of a Safety Culture

Managing Expectations

How to Measure the Immeasurable

  • Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Interviewing

Video Case Studies

Case Studies

Who Should Attend

  • Safety Managers who are in the process of implementing an SMS, or those who anticipate the implementation in the near future
  • Directors of aviation organizations, both civilian and military, that have safety oversight responsibilities within their organization
  • personnel assigned to build, implement, revise, and manage aviation programs
  • Individuals who need to understand the barriers and pitfalls of leading change in aviation operations and how to develop the processes to overcome those limiting factors
  • Those charged with implementing or assisting in the implementation of safety programs in their organization

Course Instructor

Gary T Hook

Gary has been directly involved in aviation safety since 1978. His more than 30 years of significant international experience in safety, at all levels of an organization, makes him a highly credible and competent facilitator of this key workshop.

For more than 10 years he has been directly involved in training the concepts of SMS, human factors, organizational factors, risk management, and communication on the international stage. He has worked with major airports all across Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Brunei. He has worked with KLM in Amsterdam, FedEx in Memphis and a host of organizations across North America.

As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Air Force he served for more than 35 years. He received the Air Force's highest commendation for his significant and lasting impact on influencing their safety culture.

As a pilot he has accumulated more than 5000 flying hours. The majority of this time was spent on operational fighter tours in Europe (9 years) and Canada. His last regular force assignment was as Commandant, Central Flying School. In addition to serving as the Commander's Senior Standards Eval officer for all flying training, he was also in charge of the Canadian Air Forces training for Human Performance in Military Aviation, a composite program that covers MRM, CRM and TRM at all levels, including the organizational level.

As an instructor and facilitator he has extensive international experience with both civilian and military organizations, including::

  • Provided training on SMS, occurrence investigation, risk management, human and organizational factors for Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Vancouver international airports
  • Conducted both SMS and Human Factor workshops for the International Association of Airport Executives — Canada
  • Completely redesigned the CF Air Force Safety Management System courses significantly enhancing the human factors and practical application of the material
  • Served as the Commander's senior flight safety advisor for six years and was awarded two commendations for his leadership and enhancement of the safety culture
  • Presented major workshops at both the International Symposium in Aviation Psychology and Transport Canada's Canadian Aviation Safety Seminar
  • Regular presenter at SWIFT (Summer Winter Integrated Field Technologies), the world's premier airfield conference.

Aside from his work with the Canadian Air Force, he has significant international experience teaching human factors, risk management, communication, leadership and organizational effectiveness. He has developed an expertise in human factors, Organizational Culture, Maintenance and Crew Resource Management, Human Factors in Decision Making, Risk Management, leadership studies and communication; additionally he is a certified corporate facilitator for the Franklin-Covey workshops including the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and 4 Roles of Leadership.

Course Administration

The Leading Change in SMS course consists of 4.5 training days. Students receive a course book to include class notes, lecture outlines, additional reference material and a Certificate of Completion. The classes start each morning at 0800 and ending at noon on the last day.