Culture is key to productivity

If culture is key to the productivity and success of an organization, why don’t we invest more in keeping our business cultures thriving? We often take for granted that our team knows how to navigate the modern professional workplace expectations, and we save training for the moments when an individual makes a mistake. 

In a March 2024 interview with Captain Sully (the pilot who became famous for landing his plane full of passengers on the Hudson River), he was asked about the recent safety issues occurring with Boeing passenger jets. This interview got my attention as a trainer in the field of workplace culture because I found his words to be rather motivating when it comes to the importance of preventing mistakes.

Captain Sully: 

“I’ve been a public speaker now for 15 years, and what I tell every audience is […] what a compelling business case there is for quality and safety. Whatever domain you’re in, it’s always ultimately better and cheaper to get it right up-front than to get it wrong and have to repair the damage after the fact.”

Captain Sully also makes the case for leaders needing to step up and take responsibility for creating cultures of employees who communicate openly and honestly and trust one-another. As Sully puts it, “So much has to go right all the time. It’s the human factor that saves the day.”

When asked about the importance of making employees feel heard when they have concerns to raise, Sully’s answer brought it back to the idea of culture.


“How important is it for a company like this – any company, really – but a company responsible for the lives of so many people, to hear from the individuals within their company who are raising concerns?”


“It’s critically important, and what has to happen is we have to have leadership on the board […] who understand safety […] what they have to do as leaders is they’re responsible for creating the culture at that organization. And culture is everything. We have to have an effective safety culture where people have their priorities straight. It is not financial considerations that should be #1. It’s keeping us and our customers safe. That should be job #1, and job #3, and 4, and 10.”

Sully ends the interview by explaining why he still feels safe on a Boeing jet, despite the recent issues in the news.


“…because so much does go right […] and it’s because people rise to the occasion and make sure that even if there is something going wrong, that we all get to our destination safely. Because they’re well-trained, and they have a dedication and a duty of care that technology alone cannot feel.”