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american-airlinesAmerican Airlines Case Study

World’s largest airline; $23.7 billion sales; 95,000 employees

Client Need:

After a series of layoffs caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, American Airlines’ managers resisted following the company’s new distribution guidelines for performance appraisal ratings, thus compromising the results-focused, performance-driven culture of the company.

Our Solution:

We designed operating guidelines for American Airlines’ forced distribution system — policy statements, FAQ documents, and operating procedures. We created and conducted a train-the- trainer program that enabled trainers to explain the forced distribution process and to facilitate calibration sessions. And we developed a communications program for management to introduce, explain, and advocate the new forced distribution system.

Successful Result:

Despite initial employee and management skepticism, the forced distribution process was successfully implemented and continues to operate as designed.