Healthy Competition LO18133 -Naval Aviation

Richard Karash (
Tue, 19 May 1998 22:36:29 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO18071 --

I'm now regularly on the lookout for instances of healthy competition and
instances where performance ranking, especially public in the organization
apears positive.

I talked at length over the past few days with a client who has been a
seasoned Naval Aviator. For those who don't know, pilots who make carrier
landings are among the most widely respected in aviation. My friend has
423 carrier landings, two tours in Viet Nam, and a long list of leadership

He tells me that every carrier landing is graded by the LSO (Landing
Signals Officer). The specific grades are posted in the pilot ready room
for all to see... Each landing is graded Green, Yellow, or Red (bad). If
you've had two or three reds in the past few days, it's right there for
all to see.

>From his stories and my own reading I belive that a carrier air group is a
very high performance organization. He believes the public display is a
significant positive factor.

I asked why the public display, why not just make this a matter between
the pilot and the squadron leader? Is it to insure that the LSO is not
going soft when neg ratings are appropriate? He replied, "No, it's not
that. It's that in flying you're very dependent on the other pilots, one
will be your wingman, others will be flying with you. If they screw up,
you're at risk and the stakes are high. It's very important to know who's
OK and not OK recently."

I wonder why this public display of performance information might be
helpful in a carrier air group and has been the subject of so much debate
here. (I personally think in most business settings it would be quite
negative.) My conclusion is that the ratings by the Landing Signals
Officer are a more accurate measure of landing performance than most
business organization performance reviews. That is, that carrier pilots'
landing performance is easier for a subject matter expert to assess than
most aspects of performance in business.

-- Rick

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