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War and Other Crises: How Companies Can Build a Culture of Safety and Prevention

With Malaysian Air Flight 17 being shot down over the Ukraine and rockets being launched in the direction of Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, airlines are rethinking their safety policies. Should companies be doing the same?

Turmoil in the airline sector has prompted questions about safety protocols from both governmental and industry organizations. Some airlines have taken proactive steps to ensure the safety of their passengers during the war in Gaza; Delta and United suspended flights to Israel even before the FAA ban was handed down that restricted all U.S airline travel to the country. And Delta prolonged its suspension even after the ban was lift.

Due to safety concerns, Korean Air, Qantas, Air Berlin and many more airlines rerouted their flight paths away from the Ukraine war zone months before the downing of Malaysia Flight 17.

In particular, Delta’s safety strategy proves to be an excellent case study of safety culture in business. Delta CEO Richard Anderson, said, “We have a much higher duty of care, and we’ve got to make the right decisions for the flight attendants, customers and pilots on our flights.” If you were in his position, what would you have done?

Whether we agree with the decision or not, Anderson exercised leadership and judgment in the face of tremendous uncertainty. Through his actions, he demonstrated why having a culture of prevention in place is so important, especially in industries with inherently high risk.

Nearly every industry is exposed to a certain degree of risk. When it comes to accident prevention and safety, how can companies do better?

About Brian Fielkow

Brian Fielkow
Corporate culture and management advisor Brian Fielkow is the author of Driving to Perfection: Achieving Business Excellence by Creating a Vibrant Culture, a how-to book based on his 25 years of executive leadership experience at public and privately held companies. With a doctorate in law from Northwestern University School of Law, he serves as owner and president of Jetco Delivery, a logistics company in Houston that specializes in regional trucking, heavy haul and national freight.