Do You Really Want a Mistake of Epic Proportions Driving Change?

24/7 Software
May 4, 2017 7:30:00 AM

According to a recent NPR article entitled 'It Was A Mistake Of Epic Proportions,' United CEO Testifies and written by Camila Domonoske & David Schaper, the CEO of United Airlines was “in the hot seat on Capitol Hill” Tuesday morning.

The NPR article states that CEO Oscar Munoz was “answering pointed questions from members of Congress about last month's incident in which a United passenger was dragged off a plane.”

"’It was a mistake of epic proportions,’ United CEO Oscar Munoz told representatives, as he explained how United has changed its rules moving forward. ‘In hindsight, clearly our policies broke down," explains Munoz in the article.

We agree with both statements. But, did this “mistake of epic proportions” or the ‘policy breakdown’ need to happen?

No - which is why many other airlines were questioned.

Domonoske and Schaper’s article explains that “executives from other airlines” were present as well during the examination.

Their report says that Congress scrutinized “customer service problems across the commercial aviation industry and considers legislation to better protect airline passengers.”

Why does it always take a devastating incident to drive change? Why don’t you regularly review your processes to avoid potential breakdowns altogether?

"It's shameful that an event like the one that we had at United needs to drive this conversation," Munoz said in the NPR piece.

Of course it is!

But, you can avoid these events.

How to Avoid a Mistake of Epic Proportions

Now, we’re not going to recount the United Airlines incident because you already know the details.

But, you should read the article to see the descriptions of the proposed bills resulting from the United Airlines incident.

  • The BOARD (Bumping on Overbooked Airplanes Requires Dealing) Fairly Act
  • The SEAT (Secure Equity in Airline Transportation) Act
  • The "Customers, Not Cargo" Act
  • The TICKETS (Transparency, Improvements, and Compensation to Keep Every Ticketholder Safe) Act
  • The Passenger Bill of Rights

Today, we want to address the greater issue: Driving change – before someone gets hurt.

We’re tired of organizations (and industries) sweeping their internal policy and process problems under a proverbial rug.

You don’t really want a mistake of epic proportions driving your property’s change, do you?

Of course not.

That’s why you need to look at your current operation’s strategy using the ACDA Principle (pronounced ak-duh), so you can fix or replace the policies and processes that could harm your customers and business.

It’s the hard truth, and United Airlines (and the airline industry) proves the importance of this exercise.

The ACDA Principle Helps Drive Notable Change

Over the years we realized there’s a common thread for success amongst proactive operations.

These operations opened our eyes to the four characteristics of operations that have a good handle on their strategy for running a property.

Some operations have all four in place, some have three, and some have none. That’s not okay.

That’s how incidents like United occur.

To drive change for good, you need to review, develop, improve, and optimize all four aspects of the ACDA Principle™:

  • Awareness
  • Communication
  • Documentation
  • Analysis

By focusing your initiatives on these four core areas, you can produce great policies, processes, or procedures to maximize the likelihood of long-term success.

Whatever success means to your organization, we can assure you one thing:

  • Success always starts with how you take care of your customers.


Driving Change Means Understanding Weaknesses

To drive change that improves your policies and leads to happy customers, you need to ask hard questions related to awareness, communication, documentation, and analysis:

  • How do you handle customer service issues, incidents, and mistakes with customers?
  • What processes do you have in place in regards to your emergency management plan? Have you implemented and enforced protocols-to-handle?
  • Do you know everything that occurs in your operation, at all times? Does your staff know?
  • Are you able to access incident details from many years ago? How does your liability defense measure up?
  • Is resource allocation a headache? Do you have the ability to deploy your security and emergency response teams effectively?
  • Do you always know what your staff is doing? What’s your process for ensuring accountability?
  • What software do you use to improve your operation and team's performance continuously? (We go in depth about the Principle and software in this article here.)

These are only seven of the many questions we’d like you to consider. But, they will help you answer some vital questions about your current operation.

We understand that if you continue to do things status quo, you’ll never be able to avoid ‘mistakes of epic proportions.’

You will, however, get used to being on the hot seat at Capitol Hill. So, know what bad policies you’re leaving behind – and leave them there.

Now, questions like the ones above will guide you through this exercise. But, you need to keep evaluating your current operations.

(Need more questions? Read this article to get 13 more.)

As you begin answering these issues in your mind (and on your computer, paper, or board), the new ideas will come to you and your team.

Next thing you know, you’ll have the best understanding of your current operation that you’ve probably had in years.

You’ll no longer be blind to what potential harm may hurt your customers and cripple your organization.

You won’t be the next ‘United.’

Why? You’ve turned off the noise for a brief moment in time to see everything from your customers’ perspective.

Focus attention on your operation, look at it, and then really see it.

All it takes is some time and effort to understand what could lead to a mistake your property can’t come back from.

Once you’ve mapped out your current operation, it’ll make driving continuous change throughout your organization 100 times easier.

It’ll also help you avoid any mistake before it’s too late.

Over to You

It’s unfortunate that a month later we’re still talking about United Airlines. But, the truth is, a mistake like theirs could’ve been yours.

Addressing your strategy using the ACDA Principle™ is the critical starting point for strengthening your weaknesses to ensure the only ‘epic’ part of your organization is – success.

Learn how to employ Proactive Operations using strategy, infrastructure & technology.

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