BTOES Insights Official
August 23, 2017

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: From Worst to First—Changing Culture to Drive Performance


WATCH NOW: From Worst to First—Changing Culture to Drive Performance 

  WATCH NOW: From Worst to First—Changing Culture to Drive Performance

About the Presentation 

When U.S. Navy Commander Ernie Spence took over the Navy’s largest squadron, it was the worst performing squadron in the Navy.  The challenges were great.  The squadron was averaging 4.5 significant safety incidents per month, was 20% over maintenance budget, training requirements were over a year behind schedule, and most astonishingly, only 1 of the squadron’s 117 aircraft was deemed “safe to fly”.  With an intense focus on improving the organizational culture of the squadron, Ernie was able to turn the squadron around in less than 18 months—reducing safety incidents to less than 1 per quarter, increasing flight hours flown by 44%, restoring the squadron’s training program. Subsequently, the squadron was recognized as having the best maintenance program in U.S. Naval Aviation, all while coming in 21% under budget. 

  • The need to clearly defining culture before trying the change it
  • The characteristics of organizational cultures that lead to Operational Excellence
  • How to identify the cultural gaps that affect your organization’s safety, quality, reliability, and profitability
  • Actions you can take to drive cultural transformation in your organization
  • Understanding the impediments and challenges along the way
  • Lesson-learned from this and other such transformations


WATCH NOW: From Worst to First—Changing Culture to Drive Performance 


About the Speaker

Ernie Spence served in the US Navy for 22 years as a fighter pilot and test pilot.  He commanded and successfully turned around multiple F/A-18 squadrons, including the largest in the Navy, where he was responsible for leading a diverse workforce of 1300 employees and 117 aircraft to train 60% of the Navy’s fighter aircrew.  In this role, he reduced Operations & Maintenance costs by 36% in just one year while simultaneously restoring to service over $3.6 billion worth of high-performance aircraft and increasing pilot production by 44%. 

Today, Ernie is a Manager for Wilson Perumal & Company where he leads the company’s execution practice helping organizations achieve operational excellence through proactive management of their culture and focusing on fully integrating the business strategy with the company’s management system and culture.   Ernie has a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University, Eisenhower School; a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado.  He is also a graduate of the US Naval Test Pilot School.

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