Interview with Thomas Fengler of Im Cockpit. Fengler KG
Who is Thomas Fengler?
Thomas started his career as a naval officer where he accomplished active participation in leadership skills and employee training and has 30 years of experience as a commercial pilot and executive. A fun fact is that Thomas is one of the few who got his pilot licence before his driving licence at the age of 18. Not only is he a training captain on both the Airbus and Boeing aircraft, Thomas has also owned his own airline for ten years.
Im Cockpit.Fengler KG
Im Cockpit. Fengler KG is a German company, founded in 1997. Their vision is “High performance and satisfaction on all levels”. Their mission is: “Just like the co-operation of crew in the cockpit”. Im Cockpit organize change management trainings for managers on multiple scales, from CEOs of large companies to students who want to become managers in the future.
In 2013, Thomas came up with the idea to implement flight simulator trainings from airline cockpits for non-aviation companies worldwide. His view is teaching leadership via the model of airlines. This model is about the behaviour of people, something that Thomas has become familiar with during his lengthy (pilot) career.
How Im Cockpit and ProSim got in contact
In 2016, a privately-run seminar centre in Hamburg was founded by Fengler KG, operating with a professional airline simulator which is used exclusively for management training. When Im Cockpit started with trainings in the simulator, the software was at that time not stable and reliable. As Thomas comments: ‘’When you are training senior managers in a cockpit simulator, high-quality hardware and software is essential”.
Thomas got in contact with Hanne Koole (CEO) at a flight simulation event in Lelystad. Hanne told him about their brand new A320 software and that they were looking for a European launch customer. This is where the co-operation started, how Im Cockpit became one of the Beta testers of the new software.
Working with ProSim software
From the first start of the beta version, the software reacted and worked as it was intended. Also, the support of ProSim was quick in responding to technical issues. After the beta period was finalized Im Cockpit decided to work with ProSim as their new software supplier for the simulation training. Nowadays Im Cockpit uses the software for more than 1,000 hours per year. It works perfectly for them. Thomas: “This is very important.” The managers who are trained in the cockpit simulator are producing a lot of errors. Despite all these errors the ProSim software remains reliable and stable. In case technical support is needed, ProSim support responses immediately.
Training leadership in the cockpit
The managers who participate in the training need to provide leadership in their own respective companies. The goal is to improve leadership skills and a learning organization. To have a company adapt to a new leadership model this can take up to two years for a mid-sized company of about 1,000 people. Im Cockpit does this by adapting a personal approach.
For the training managers are confronted with difficult situations in the cockpit simulator. These simulations are very realistic. The managers are left alone in the cockpit and they must fix problems that arise. Their reactions are de-briefed, which are always stress reactions. At the start of the simulation, all conditions are stable in the cockpit, until the moment they make a mistake and everything gets unstable within 60 seconds. The analysis shows how they fix problems which they are not familiar with. Next analysed are the ramifications of their behaviour and the results of the effect. These results are discussed in order to learn how to prevent difficult situations from happening in their own company environment.
Within pilot training the developments go at a fast pace, since pilot training is safer, cheaper and more effective when using simulations. And it is not only pilots who use simulators but also doctors, ship captains, train conductors, who all do trainings by using this method.
More and more industries are working with simulation products. This means that the hardware is developing as well.
Future of Im Cockpit
The business of Im Cockpit is to teach managers of companies via simulation to use a stable management system in a rapidly changing world. This way managers encounter less stress, there is more development, more growth perspective, etc. The behaviour of managers needs to change, which is not primary on the organizational-structure or technical aspects. This is a lesson that Thomas already learned in aviation 30 years ago. The future for Im Cockpit is to implement this method for more companies around the world.
More information about Im Cockpit
LinkedIn group: https://www.linkedin.com/company/im-cockpit.-fengler-kg/