On April 12, I blogged about the immediate aftermath of United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz’ (lack of) leadership. This following the upsetting video that surfaced the night of April 9th, showing the violent removal of a passenger from an aircraft. On April 19, I wrote a further commentary in my regular column for The Globe & Mail – Lessons from the United Airlines debacle (or how not to destroy your brand) – in which laid out five leadership lessons that any CEO should internalize so as not to find themselves in similar shaky situations in the future.
Is it too little, too late?
I still maintain that this unfortunate United Airlines incident is destined to become a textbook case of how a leader should not act in a state of crisis (particularly in the age of the Internet). But I am pleased to say that on April 27, Munoz also demonstrated how to do it right. United issued the results of their internal investigation as well as a public apology in major newspapers, individual apologies to the airline’s frequent flyers (I got an email) and a statement on their website. Granted, it may be the proverbial equivalent of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but in my opinion, late is better than never. Continue reading
Last week I blogged about the immediate aftermath of United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz’ (lack of) leadership. This following the upsetting video that surfaced the night of April 9th, showing the violent removal of a passenger from an aircraft. My column in both the online and print editions of today’s Globe and Mail continues on this very topic. This unfortunate United Airlines incident is destined to become a textbook case of how a leader should not act in a state of crisis (particularly in the age of the Internet). In today’s column – Lessons from the United Airlines debacle – published in this morning’s print and online editions, I outline five leadership lessons that any CEO can take to heart. In the interest of not destroying your brand overnight, these five things that are well worth considering and internalizing so as not to find yourself in a similar shaky scenario at any point in the future.
Five lessons that every leader should internalize
This is a topic that has been fodder for many a water cooler and coffee station conversation for the last 1-½ weeks with opinions that have ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other. You know my point of view, but I’m interested in yours. What could Munoz have done differently to manage this situation more effectively? With the benefit of hindsight, what other lessons would leaders take away from this unfortunate situation? Your comments welcome.
So you’d have to be under a rock or in a dark cave some place to have missed the firestorm that is United Airlines which ignited sometime this past Sunday night. After all, it’s not every day that an airline literally beats up its customer! If you haven’t seen the video that accelerated into cyberspace (where have you been?), just Google it; you should find it within seconds. There’s a lot of conversation about the circumstances leading up to this event, but one thing is clear. United Airlines’ CEO, Oscar Munoz didn’t handle things well, and in today’s post, I’d like to focus on his apparent (lack of) leadership. In this age of the Internet, there is example after example of the public relations nightmare that can fall out of a poorly-managed situation (heck, I remember the Papa John’s incident five years ago!), and unfortunately, United Airlines’ handling of this situation is destined to become a textbook case of how a leader should not act. Let me give you a quick rundown, at least as of last night.
United Airline’s Mistake #1
When the videos of this regrettable event first hit the worldwide web late on Sunday night, Munoz issued a public statement on Monday, which went wrong from the very beginning. His choice of words — “re-accommodate”, “inconvenienced” and “upsetting” — came across as tone-deaf in a situation that would have more aptly been described as terrible and horrible and shocking and distressing.
I have long advocated that leaders need to stay abreast of evolving technology, and tuned to the impact of social media in today’s workplaces. Something interesting happened last week that brought this message home to me, loud and clear, yet again.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for employers and employees
A young professional male I know was laid off from his job over a year ago due to the current economic recession occurring in Alberta. For over a year, he has been actively seeking new employment, and while he was getting at least a few interviews in the early days of his job search, recently even those have trickled down to almost nothing. That is until last week. He received a message through LinkedIn (the widely-used social media platform that is primarily business and employment-focused) from someone asking if he was still looking for work, and if he could come into an interview the next day. Of course he agreed. But he thought it was odd that this was not an organization that he had reached out to himself, or for that matter one that he had even come across in his months of job search. Continue reading
Just in time for the holiday season, a feel-good video from Google about how miles and decades apart cannot weaken friendships and relationships. It’s 3-1/2 minutes long, but it’s worth it, I promise. I watched it several times and it brought a tear to my eye each time. By the way, it has English captions, but even if you don’t read them, you’ll get the gist of the story.
So since I’m always looking for leadership messages to share with all of you, what’s the message here? I think it’s two-fold Continue reading
As regular readers of this blog know, I often comment on how important it is for leaders to keep abreast of technology, not just for their own benefit, but perhaps more importantly to stay current in the context of the people they lead. For several years now, I’ve been saying this, and I’ll say it again: there is a fundamental shift in the way people are communicating with one another, and it has enormous implications for how you should be recruiting, motivating and leading your people. In the past, I’ve introduced you to two very eye-opening videos by Erik Qualman – Social Media Revolution and Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh). Now he’s recently released a new video titled Technology Can Kill to support his book Digital Leader.
Technology has made it possible for you, a leader, to make an impact far and wide, to exert more influence than ever before. Are you accepting this reality, or are you fighting it? What are you doing to embrace technology? Or not? Does this video have any implications on how you are or should be leading your people?
You might have already read about the public relations nightmare that Papa Johns, the international fast-food pizza chain, faced recently. But if you haven’t …
Last Monday, on January 7, Minhee Cho stopped in to pick up a pizza at a Manhattan location of this chain. The young cashier rang in the sale, and then typed in a description on the receipt to identify the customer. The description – “lady chinky eyes”. Ms. Cho, not surprisingly, was a tad bit offended and posted a picture of the receipt on her Twitter account with the following text: Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn’t “lady chinky eyes”. Also not surprisingly, the photo went viral. In fact, last I checked, it had been viewed 244,843 times.
If you’re a regular subscriber to my blog, then you know that I have long-believed that leaders today cannot ignore the impact of social media in the workplace. In fact, I blogged on this very subject just last July. Social media is a fundamental shift in the way that people communicate with one another, and therefore it has enormous implications for how you should recruit, motivate and lead your people. And in the long-term, social media is changing how your clients and customers select and buy your services and products. In fact, it is exactly this that prompted me to start this blog back in September 2009. Recently I was asked by Outlook Magazine to share my story about why and how I chose to enter the sometimes murky world of social media. You can read the entire article published in their Spring 2011 issue.
Do you have a presence in the places that are frequented by your current and future employees and customers? What are you doing to make sure that you continue to be relevant and significant to your stakeholders as your market demographics shift?
Last September, I wrote a blog titled Why leaders cannot ignore social media. It was prompted by a YouTube video based on Erik Qualman’s book, Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. The question posed in the video was: is social media a fad? The answer was clear, and given that my professional practice focuses on turning managers into leaders, I asked the next question: what are you doing as a leader to harness the power of social media?
Well, Erik Qualman recently released Social Media Revolution 2 – a refresh of the original video with new and updated social media & mobile statistics. If you ignored my message the last time around, then please, do yourself a huge favour and watch this new edition. The evidence is even more compelling than it was the last time!
I said it 10 months ago, and I’ll say it again. There is clearly a fundamental shift in the way people are communicating with one another, and it has enormous implications for how you should be recruiting, motivating and leading your people. And if you look at the long-term success of your organization, social media is changing how your clients and customers select and buy your services and products. What are you doing to keep up with them?
So many people are constantly texting or updating status reports on Facebook, MySpace, or YouTube. How do they get any useful work done? As far as I am concerned, all this online stuff just stunts your ability to develop meaningful relationships with other people. Anyway, this whole social media thing is just a fad.
If you’re reading this via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, then this probably does not reflect your point of view. However, for many people, this is a familiar lament about the world of social media. If you fall into this latter category … perhaps these interesting statistics about the impact of globalization and technology on our world might cause you to reconsider your perspective. Read the entire article in the January/February 2010 issue of CGA Magazine here.