Why an Aeronautical Term ?
People always ask us: "Why 'Below Ten Thousand'?
Surely there is a better terminology we could use?"
And maybe it is true.
On the surface of things, it seems that, with all our codes, bells, alarms and medical terminology, there must be a better way of communicating what we are trying to achieve.
So far, despite all of our brainstorming attempts, we keep on coming back to the same thing.
So we whiteboarded the problem, to see WHY we kept on coming up with the same answer every time, and this is what we got:
First, we looked for answers within the Health profession.
We looked to the ANF, the ACORN Standards, and the standards of other professional bodies.
Somehow, everybody seemed to be still scratching their heads, just like we were.
Secondly, we asked: "What other industries may have engineered full or partial answers?"
One possibility was the manufacturing industry, which is generally process driven, with safety coming a second place to output.
We know health executives have tried to borrow from the manufacturing industry the analytical Sigma 6 lean thinking process, but there are no powerful
'STOP, LOOK & LISTEN' motifs that are pervasive, nor persuasive.
Then we looked at the airline industry, where we found Crew Resource Management, part of which is 'Below Ten Thousand' (BTT).
We asked: "Would we, and if not, why wouldn't we, want to use a term strongly associated with the airline industry? After all, they share similar team dynamics and have a desire for similar outcomes, not to mention a thirty year head start on us."
The power behind the idea of 'Below Ten Thousand'?
First, it is effective and efficient, and it is already systems engineered for us.
As an image it is symbolic;
As an action it is instantly described
It's effect is instantly attained
and the follow-up (stand-down) is readily visualised.
And if you google it, you are instantly rewarded with many poignant resources, including the pilot safety handbook which poetically addresses risk and action, and suddenly you think: Wow. The parallels are astounding!
So despite our best efforts, no wonder we keep coming back to the same easy answer.