One Culture Lesson From United Airlines Fiasco

By now, everyone with access to the Internet knows about this video.

This blog is not about assigning fault.

Feel free to hear my thoughts about who’s responsible in the situation in the video below. Otherwise, jump on to the lesson.

Culture Has To Be Over-managed

I wrote about Disney “overmanaging” practice a few weeks ago. Today, I use UA’s problem as a trigger from an insight I gained during my second International Maxwell Certification event.

As part of the benefits of being in the mentorship level of the John Maxwell team (JMTeam), we get a backstage perspective of the event. In this instance, our president and mentor Paul was talking about the hotel staff in comparison to the JMTeam’s culture. He pointed out the differences in behaviors and how the hotel applied their policies in addressing customer needs. This was not in alignment with JMTeam culture and it was going to be addressed in the future.

The reason for the discrepancy was due to a significant increase in attendance to the event. Hence, Paul had to contract additional staff on a short notice. The result were glitches in customer service.

Now, let’s go back to the airline situation.

We now know the airlines staff was very polite and respectful; the federal officer, was the total opposite.

Remember, the officer has nothing to do with the airline; yet, in the eyes of the customer, they are one and the same.

Evidently, the airline staff had a different attitude (culture), than the one exhibited by the officer.

And that’s the lesson, leaders have to make sure that the culture also extends to those they are doing business with. Otherwise, they run the risk of misrepresentation.

Developing a leadership culture goes beyond the boundaries of the company. It involves practices, business partners, board directors, sales agents, and even the customers themselves.

I guess, this is another example of life being unfair.

What are your thoughts on this concept?

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