April 9, 2017, is a day of infamy for one airline which shall not be named — primarily because it’s already endured enough ridicule to last a lifetime. This newfound ignominious awareness is probably much deserved because of the way in which a recalcitrant customer was treated, having been physically dragged and dropped on the outside of the plane’s front hatch door.
This event, recorded on a video, is very likely to be permanently memorialized in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the mother of all knucklehead responses to solving a problem.
Undoubtedly what occurred will also be used as a case study at every business and law school on the planet for the next 50 years as a tutorial of “How not to do it,” far overshadowing other industry faux pas of a similar ilk.
All businesses and individuals should heed this event as a piercing wake-up call, which was probably viewed by over half of the earth’s population throughout the free world and even under the most restricted dictatorships.
Companies and nonprofit organizations can learn from what occurred, documented by numerous fellow passengers who caused the episode to go viral, and use it as a teaching opportunity. It all starts with what I call “The Mother Rule” which is my favorite barometer of determining what is right or wrong. If you don’t want your mother to know it, most likely you shouldn’t do it because it’s trouble. No doubt these events, which transpired on a quasi-cylindrically shaped transportation tube, are every CEO’s worse nightmare.
I propose using, as a training tool, the same snake that bit this self-proclaimed “friendly skies” company by engaging undercover-types packing a smartphone equipped with a camera, much the same as many companies, including most large retail chains, do today to memorialize actions by employees who don’t live up to a company’s promulgated promise of quality and service.
Those smartphones can do more damage than innumerable speeding bullets. Don’t get in a twist over what some might perceive as an invasion of privacy, as I would also recommend that the faces of the perpetrators be blurred out so as not to cause ridicule and convict the accused without the benefit of our inalienable right of due process, not to mention causing a plummeting effect on morale.
“Seeing is believing” and when people realize how they look to others, they may be highly motivated to toe the company line and think twice about never again behaving like a nincompoop for the world to see, including close to 4.7 billion fellow cellphone users.
This deterrent is comparable to approaching a yellow traffic light when you’re in a hurry and wisely slamming on the brakes.
Certainly, people do this to avoid a tragic accident. However, many also know that big brother might be watching via traffic camera, and the next time they get mail, it could be a costly citation.
Just remember: A picture can be worth a thousand words but, in the case of a smartphone photo or video that goes viral, that number could be exponentially higher by a factor of millions.
Michael Feuer co-founded OfficeMax and in 16-years, as CEO, grew the retailer to sales of $5 billion in 1,000 stores worldwide. Today, as founder/CEO of Max-Ventures, his firm invests in and consults for retail businesses.