Pete Hanson’s Daily Blog: Opportunity At Gate E74
We all make mistakes. Occasionally things go wrong. Sometimes it’s our fault. Other times there’s nothing we could have done to prevent it. Now I’m not one to often compliment the airline industry, but this weekend Delta impressed me on my trip back from Memphis.
I was sitting in a jet at the end of a Salt Lake City runway. Suddenly the engines fire up, we start rolling. Bozeman here we come; and…stop. The pilot hits the breaks and we’re going nowhere. It was a weird deal. The pilot announced that there was a problem with the left wing’s de-icing system, and that it was important that it be functioning. I for one appreciated his concern. It was raining in Salt Lake and Bozeman. Snowing in the mountains, and doing god knows what at 30,000 feet. This was at 10:00am. I was clearly not going to be arriving in Bozeman at 11:30.
We were then told that the problem could not be fixed, and that we needed to grab all of our belongings and exit the plane. I was hoping for the big inflatable slide. We used the stairs. I was now clearly not going to be arriving in Bozeman before nightfall.
On a positive note, everyone at Delta was positive, upbeat, and accommodating. The captain was funny. And their attitudes set the right mood of all on board. (It probably also helped that no one would be missing a connecting flight in Bozeman.)
We were back in the terminal for no more than ten minutes when they had a new jet ready to go, and we were back to boarding. I was amazed! That never happens. In fact, given all that had transpired, we were actually on the ground in Bozeman only 90-minutes later than our originally scheduled arrival time. Not ‘on-time,’ but damn good.
Delta’s plane didn’t work. I was ninety minutes late getting to my destination. And the if I was a teacher I would give them an A+ on their project. Here’s why:
Everyone looks good when things are going great; running smoothly. That’s easy. (Or easier.) It’s what you or your organization do when things begin crumbling around you that says a lot about you and your group. How do you handle surprises, mistakes, and problems? More often than not, I find that another good word for ‘problem’ is opportunity. An opportunity to show someone how good you are at making things great in the toughest of circumstances. A large part of who we are is defined by how we handle adversity.
The next time there is a perceived ‘problem,’ use it as your personal opportunity to “wow” someone with how you handled it. They will remember that (and be more impressed) far longer than if there had been no problem at all.
Bozeman flight 4802 is now boarding at gate E74. When you see E74 on the departure sign, you know you’re in for a long walk.