Opportunity Delta Air Lines was emerging from a period of disappointing financial results and an extensive cost-cutting programme which had led to job losses and pay cuts. It saw an opportunity to improve the performance and morale of staff by equipping its captains to deliver more effective leadership.
Approach MSB began by surveying the opinions of Delta's pilots, from new hires to experienced training captains. The research was based on the key leadership competences that the airline wanted its captains to possess – teamwork, managing conflict, problem-solving, stress management and providing performance feedback to staff.
We used our findings to design a leadership development programme focused on these competences. The aim was to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes of all captains.
To deliver the programme, MSB recruited two ex-British Airways senior training captains and two leadership development specialists with a wealth of experience in the airline industry. Each 3-day programme was co-facilitated by one training captain and one leadership specialist. This combination brought huge credibility to the programme and resulted in extremely positive feedback from participants.
Three months after they attended the residential stage of the programme, participants were invited to a ‘Consolidation Day’, the objective of which was to reinforce and expand upon the major themes of the initial leadership programme.
Impact Feedback from the Delta programme was excellent. MSB’s Captain Leadership Programme proved to be one of the most powerful training interventions in the history of Delta Airlines. It led to a significant improvement in the communication skills and commercial decision-making capabilities of this influential and senior group of airline employees.
"I am a retired military officer who has flown my
entire career. I have been through many military schools, leadership
programs and crew resource management courses. Delta's Captain
Leadership programme is head and shoulders above anything I have ever