It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting here on a plane getting ready to take off. Next to our plane is an Airbus A320 getting ready to take flight.
I’m watching the pilot do a walk around of the plane and I’m timing him.
He’s spent five minutes looking at the front wheels.
He’s underneath and shining a flashlight into an open compartment.
He inspects the fuel connection.
Next, I watch him move to the wing. He walks the perimeter of the wing, climbs a stepladder and runs his hand up and down a flap. I watch his scrape some ice off the bottom wing tip.
Making his way to the back of the plane he walks back an additional 30-50 feet behind the plane.
He spends 30 seconds staring at the back of the plane, pulls out his phone, and makes a call. While he’s on the phone, he points at something.
Then he continues to the other side and soon after I can’t see him anymore.
The pre-flight checklist is one of the most religiously-followed processes in the modern world. It's one of the many reasons flying is the safest mode of transportation. The pilot walkaround is completed so the pilot knows the ship she’s piloting is safe to fly. The pilot looks for any issues–leaks, exterior damage– that could put the aircraft and its passengers in jeopardy.
When was the last time you walked around your organization?
I realize that for some Tuesday Tidbit™ readers it would be impossible to do a full walk around or visit areas of your business (retail shops, warehouses, factories, etc.) but it doesn't mean you can’t do some of it.
Consider the show Undercover Boss. Which is the worst business show on the planet.
Yes, I tear up just like everyone else when I hear the struggles some employees have gone through and how the CEO's cash gift or job promotion is truly going to change someone's life.
But, it’s embarrassing for most organizations and not to be worn as a badge of honor to be on a show like this. In fact, if the phone's call display reads Undercover Boss– Don't answer! Ignore and call me immediately.
Rarely on the show do we find an organization not entirely out of touch with reality. Rarely do we see a management team entirely out to lunch when it comes to employee relations and the pulse of the customer. Rarely do we see an executive team that could ever leap Good to Great.
The leap to great is impossible if you’re not even good, and many organizations can’t reach that bar. Collins was wrong! Good isn't the enemy of great.
The paradox, of course, is being consistently good 99% of the time is better than being haphazardly great here and there. Just looked at the majority of Collin’s “Great” companies.
And that's why I’ve always advocated to my clients to get in the trenches every 90 days.
When was the last time you answered the phones?
When was the last time you greeted clients?
When was the last time you tested just how quickly your organization could respond to customer issues?
Your Challenge For This Week:
Pull up your calendar and set a date and time today.
What do you hope to learn? What precisely will you do?
What about your management team? Get them to commit too.
The plane and the safety of your passengers is a lot of responsibility for you to carry. Don’t skip the chance to do your regular walk around. And remember, if that television show calls – RUN! Don't walk.