Professionals recognize and act on a calling to advance their profession at large, so they tend to be willing to share. That’s good news for those working to launch or strengthen professionalism initiatives, because there is a deep well of experience from which to draw. You don’t need to go it alone.

This section promotes an exchange of ideas regarding professionalism among experienced business aviation operators. The intent is to open lines of communication and help spread best practices.

Share your example(s).
Share your story about how your or your organization have embraced a focus on professionalism and continuous improvement. The NBAA Safety Committee will contact you about posting it to this section for others to learn from.

Contact name:

Phone number:

E-mail Address:

Example 1: Nine Core Competencies

One flight department has educated their associates on these nine core compentencies and incorporated them into a personal and organizational self-improvement initiative. Each associate is asked to provide reporting on their own progress.


  • Inspires and motivates
  • Seeks innovative approaches to achieve the vision and mission of the organization
  • Receptive to new ideas and change
  • Entrepreneurial and thinks outside the box
  • Perseveres and accepts challenges


  • Possesses excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Effectively expresses ideas in individual and group settings
  • Articulates and clearly imparts the concept
  • Is open-minded, people-oriented and approachable
  • An excellent listener who is eager to accept advice


  • Gives ownership of business processes to the process owner and creates organizational space to execute
  • Is comfortable with delegation
  • Exhibits complete confidence in his/her people with appropriate accountabilities

Customer Focus

  • Is customer-centric and focused on delivering customer satisfaction in all ways
  • Follows through on customer concerns at every opportunity
  • Has well-developed skills for partnering and teaming with all constituent groups, supplier and customer, both inside and outside of the organization

Demeanor and Image

  • Projects confidence, is available and accessible
  • Has a positive attitude and sense of humor
  • Maintains self-control under pressure, has an even temper and a calming effect in a crisis
  • Displays professionalism, maintains focus and is courageous
  • Is trustworthy, energetic, involves everyone and seeks inclusiveness
  • Shows gratitude, care, diplomacy and promotes teamwork
  • Leads by example and makes business fun

Business Acumen

  • Fiscally responsible and data-driven in all decision-making
  • Champions process thinking and is focused on execution
  • Sets high standards of quality and technical excellence
  • Highly evolved project and financial management skills
  • Intelligently uses all available assets and is well organized
  • Establishes an efficient and effective organizational structure


  • Is decisive and impartial
  • Willing to let things develop, but knows when to stop or say “no”
  • Sets actionable and realistic goals
  • Takes prudent risks and learns from mistakes

Development of Self and Others

  • Commits and engages in the creation of a learning organization
  • Shares and imparts knowledge, provides resources and tools
  • Places significant emphasis on the development of self and his/her people
  • Possesses a thorough knowledge of the human aspects of business
  • Is on a continual journey of self-discovery


  • Ethical and honest in all interactions
  • Exhibits personal courage, maintains the highest personal character and uncompromising integrity
  • Respects confidentiality and is humble
  • Values the power of diversity and demonstrates inclusiveness
  • Has the complete trust of his/her people

Example 2: Striving Toward Higher Levels of Professionalism

As we strive toward Level III Professionalism, some of the things our team has been doing lately include:

Engagement/Selflessness – Several of the team members are giving back/participating in regional aviation association activities:

    • Safety captain serves on the SCAA Safety Committee, spearheads the SHARE program and also coaches local maintenance shop/FBO on SMS start-up
    • Standards captain serves as a mentor on the SCAA Mentor Committee
    • DFO serves on the SCAA BOD and NBAA Safety Committee, etc.

Ethics – Each member of the team picked one of the six characteristics of professionalism (Going Pro book) and will make a presentation to the group about how that topic affects the execution of their daily duties.

Continuous Improvement – The first agenda item of every monthly pilot/maintenance meeting is a “What would I have done better?” drill. We have had some great debriefs out of this drill.

[Note: The Going Pro book referred to in the above example is Going Pro: The Deliberate Practice of Professionanlism by Tony Kern.]

Example 3: The Six Cs

One flight department submitted the following:

Conveying the concept of professionalism can be complex, so we decided to focus on the things we do every day that indicate what professionalism is all about.

These six traits are incorporated into the way our department operates, the attitude that our flight crews exhibit and the commitment we each make as members of the department. It’s not rocket science. Professionalism, no matter what kind of catchy phrase you put with it, revolves around commitment, integrity and teamwork.

With the exception of Commitment, there is no particular order or level of importance. Commitment must always remain a top priority and the starting point for any person or department that wishes to increase their professionalism.

The other five Cs can be reordered in any way that seems appropriate. One may have more importance than another during a particular event, but they always remain connected.

The first step in becoming more professional is making a commitment to being professional. Then, get buy-in from each member of the department. Finally, secure support from senior management.

Continuous Improvement
Strive for excellence, not mediocrity. Train, train, and then train some more. It is no longer sufficient to be just a good pilot. Each person must understand the entire process of a safe flight. Learn your trade, and learn it well.

Set rules and expectations and communicate them to everyone involved, then ensure that a channel of communication remains open at all times. Remember that communication involves input and output. You must listen and understand as well as talk, and you have to make sure that you are understood. Never make assumptions. Have meetings and have them often. You can never have too much communication.

There is no point in setting rules and policies if they are not followed and enforced. Comply with the rules – whether it’s the FARs or company policies – no short cuts, no exceptions.

Work as a team. One person may be able to set the tone, but no one person can make an entire department be professional. It takes each member of a department to go from good to great.

Do the right thing all the time, not just when it is convenient. Do the right thing even when your job is at risk. Do the right thing even when no one is looking. If you waiver in your integrity, no one will take you seriously. If you are a leader, set the right example. If you are a follower, support the leader. If the leader has support, he or she can focus on what is ahead, not on what is coming up from behind.