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Five Motivating Factors to Build a Passionate FBO Team Culture

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

It's been said that most people have some degree of intuition that is often called a sixth sense. Unlike the other five senses, it's intangible. You can't touch the sixth sense or hold it in your hand.

It's kind of like an internal mechanism that alerts our senses to current conditions in our environment and perhaps even foretells what is going to happen. This human trait is really quite remarkable and understanding the process can help FBOs deliver a better, more passionate customer service experience.

FBOs need to consider that first-time customers unwittingly use their sixth sense to gauge the level of service they will receive.

In our NATA CSR Customer Service Training Program, we talk about customers having their antennas up and sensing the type of internal culture that pervades the FBO environment. Is the FBO projecting a warm and fuzzy feeling or perhaps the opposite, a sensation of being cold and indifferent?  Maybe your FBO is somewhere in between.

The internal culture of an FBO is largely represented by the employees who provide the various services and thus engage the customer at numerous points throughout the transaction. Therefore, it is essential that everyone in the FBO move and act as a team, which becomes the face of the FBO.

In building a passionate FBO team culture, we must look at putting in place the following five key factors of human motivation that results in the desire to accomplish something meaningful:

1. Ownership

Employees work best when they have a sense of ownership in the enterprise. In previous blog posts, we talk about being the restaurant owner, endowed and empowered as true stakeholders in the company. When employees feel they are vested in their work, they become more caring and passionate about how the operation works and will take better care of their main asset, the customer.

2. Authorship

Creating a passionate team spirit, as an integral part the FBO internal culture, is not owned by one individual or one manager/supervisor willing his or her view on the group. Rather, a true team spirit is derived through the process of establishing collective authorship. When employees help author policies and procedures, they become more attentive and tend to buy into the overall customer service philosophy more readily.

3. Contribution

Having a sense of contributing fulfills the human need of belonging as a valued and equal team member. FBO managers and supervisors should encourage thoughts and ideas and acknowledge these contributions that build esteem and team pride. Knowing that everyone's voice is heard helps bond the team and promotes team chemistry, which is noticed by the customer.

4. Accomplishment

There is nothing greater to boosting the human spirit than having a sense of accomplishment. Team spirit is an attribute that shows true passion and gets noticed by customers. We recommend involving the entire team in the process of creating attainable goals and objectives. Celebrate as a team when goals are achieved.

5. Learning and Advancement

FBO employees thrive in an environment where they have an opportunity to learn additional skill sets and where a clear path for advancement is defined. Having a program in place for self-advancement ensures successful maturing of a passionate team and creates longevity within the ranks. As the saying goes: a happy employee, a happy customer.

Through examining their current internal culture under this process, FBOs can further define and remodel their customer service deliverables to find new ways to provide a passionate customer service experience.

We encourage you to add your comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email:, 404-867-5518;, 972-979-6566.


John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH Accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or for more background.


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© 2017 ABSG

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