Creative Leadership

The World Is Screaming for a Little Leadership

I remember the amazing story about 47 passengers on a Continental Express Flight from Houston to Minneapolis who were forced to sit for 6 hours on the plane after their arrival – for a total of 9 hours.  (Keep in mind you can’t even stand up on these little jets). I can’t explain it, the story is just too weird. The question that’s driving me crazy is, wasn’t there a single person in the cockpit or in the airport that would make the decision to let these poor people off the plane? 

Have we come to a place where people just slavishly obey the rules no matter what?  I’m thinking a bunch of people need to be fired here.

I understand Ernest Hemingway once told young writers: “The first thing to do is to learn all the rules.  The next thing is to know when to toss them out the window.”  I would recommend the same thing for business and professional leaders.

In a crisis, it’s time to re-think the rules.  Take a little responsibility for a change. Have the insight and the guts to know when to let your people off the plane!

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  1. Most of us have been victims of the corporate bureaucracy of airlines, but this is outrageous.  On a large plane this is unforgiveable, but on a small plane it should be criminal.  I would encourage the police and the prosecutor’s office in Rochester, Minnesota to investigate this matter as well as the FBI and determine if there have been any laws broken here by any airlines or airport employees who were responsible for decisions that showed a reckless disregard for these trapped passengers.

    If criminal charges are not possible, then I can only hope there will be an avalanche of lawsuits to remedy this situation and encourage airlines and airports to never allow such a travesty to happen again.

    Here’s the website for the county attorney in Rochester –  There’s an email link at the bottom.  Let’s write to Mr. Ostrem and suggest he investigate, impanel a grand jury, do something about what happened to those citizens aboard that cramped airplane last night.

  2. Firing people would be appropriate – you wouldn’t want people stupid enough to let this happen working for you. BUT – companies fire people all the time and it doesn’t get to the root problem of poor management and lack of empowerment. 

    To really make sure this doesn’t happen again, the passengers should file a class action suit against the airline and sue them for a bucketful of money. The ONLY way to get corporate America’s attention is through their wallets.

  3. I rarely fly any more because I can’t stand the feeling of being cooped up and surrounded by strangers. It is hard to believe the people on that plane didn’t throw enough of a ruckus that the crew wasn’t forced to let them out. 

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