Our company is on the verge of what many of us think is a terrible idea, and a business plan that will significantly hurt daily operations and the company itself. Upper management has come up with a strategy that will no doubt save money in the short term, but in the long term will most likely cost us dearly. Of course, none of us minions are supposed to know about this plan because it hasn't been officially announced yet. The decisions were made in a vacuum among a small group of upper management that is far detached from reality and day to day operations.
However, word has leaked out and the first reaction from anyone who hears the plan is, "That won't work," "That's a bad idea," or "What the f--ck?" Mid-level managers in the operations department, safety department, maintenance department, and administration have also expressed concern and know that this won't work either, but they will be forced to go along with it, if they want to keep their jobs and further their careers. Officially, they haven't heard the plan from the upper echelon either, but they all know what's going on. Granted, the worker bees do not have the benefit of the "big picture," as does upper management, but there are other ways to get the job done it seems.
The company has some VP's and executive directors who have been here 30+ years. They are all-knowing, self-serving, control freaks, who are mostly just building their 401k's and retirement plans up at this point in their careers. Other than that, they leave us alone most of the time.
Above them are the CEO and COO, who are relatively new to the company (2-3 years), and don't seem to really have a grasp on helicopter operations, but are smart when it comes to numbers and the financials. They do not have aviation backgrounds, but manage aviation operations, go figure. The CEO/COO seem to be the type of guys who want to do right by the company and the employees, but are heavily influenced by the VP's. They will defer to the VP's for lots of decisions because of their vast experience.
I would like to think that if one of us minions could actually get time with the CEO and the COO, that we could explain the situation and at least provide them with more information to help them change their minds. Politically, it would be bad for one of us to go outside of the chain of command and request a meeting with the CEO or COO (or send an email or a letter). However, going through the chain of command is a show stopper. Mid-level management knows this plan is a bad idea, but they are afraid to ruffle the feathers of the directors and VP's. The directors and VP's are the gate keepers to the CEO and COO, and any attempt to make an end run around them will be seen as mutiny and insubordination.
I've been in the work force for 30+ years and flying for 27 years and have seen the landscape change quite a bit. Back in the late 80's, up to around the early 2000's, much of the business world emphasized "open door" policies, "servant leadership," had town hall meetings where you could talk openly with upper management without fear of retribution, and even had suggestion boxes. Often ideas of line workers and employees were considered and sometimes those ideas would be implemented into company policy or even strategic change. After all, who knows how to do that job better, than the guys who do it every day?
Today however, those types of things seem to be falling by the wayside. If you make a suggestion, even in a positive way for positive change, you are often seen as a trouble maker and a boat rocker. They will just give you a speech about how lucky you are to have a job, because there are 10 people waiting in line to take that job. This is why in today's world, especially aviation, that you have always cross your T's and dot your I's, shut your mouth, and keep your resume constantly updated.
The thing is, I do really like my job and the company in general. I think overall we do a good job, and many of us take a lot of pride in what we do. I just want us to continue to improve and the organiztion to stay strong, and I don't want to have to be updating my resume five years from now because of a potentially bad decision.
Has anyone been in similar situations, where they were actually able to effect change across the organization to prevent a bad policy or implement a good one? If so, how did you do it?