After Boeing’s second 737 Max plane went down, I checked my itineraries to see if I was flying on their troubled airplane.
All companies have problems, some can be prevented and some need to be handled quickly and deftly after the fact.
Boeing screwed up in both cases. They are a classic example of what not to do.
First off, they tried to save money by avoiding the training needed to operate this new plane. They employed iPads for training (!) Instead of full hands on simulation. Their short-term thinking has cost hundreds of lives and a huge loss of market confidence.
Secondly, they have made the mistake of keeping quiet during this terrible debacle, and they relinquished control of their story line to the newspapers. They should have gotten ahead of this, holding their own press conferences and taking out full page ads to tell their own story. They could have grounded their planes before the government did, to show us that they put our safety before profits.
But instead their leadership is literally hiding, not a peep as of my writing this on Sunday. I predict Boeing’s future will never be the same.
Lessons you can learn and apply to your business.
- Your staff will make mistakes every day, so train your front office, field and management on how to talk to your clients when mistakes happen.
- Empower your leaders to make the right decisions in the face of screw ups. Don’t linger in the problem.
- Don’t be penny pinching when it comes to training that will impacts your quality or your client’s experience with your company.
Lastly, have a contingency plan for the big what-ifs. For example, what If you lose a key person this spring, how will you respond?? Be prepared as a leader, so that you can turn problems into opportunities that will grow your company forward, not leave it limping in failure.