Prepare for Takeoff: How Southwest flight No. 324 catapulted my blog

Prepare for Takeoff: How Southwest flight No. 324 catapulted my blog

For months now I have been telling myself, “This is the week I will start blogging!” My intentions are sincere on Sunday evening and the week ahead looks like I should have no problem spending an hour lost in my own thoughts. Then life shows up on Monday morning. Getting lost in my own thoughts during the week is by no means a problem, but typically it’s between client calls and chasing by twin boys around. And if I am being honest, those moments are more about taking a breath than an actual Zen moment. Finally I found my opening…

 

DING!

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the crew I ask that you please direct your attention to the monitors above as we review the emergency procedures. There are six emergency exits on this…

 

Sitting two rows back and next to the window on my flight home, I prepare myself for the usual safety speech. While I have to imagine most of the plane is not hearing this for the first time, it is still mandatory and therefore the staff goes through their due-diligence.

 

We all know where it goes from here.

 

“If you are traveling with children, make sure that your own mask is on first before helping your children.”

 

This has entirely new meaning to me. Contrary to what you may be thinking, it is less about my children and more about the importance of taking care of yourself first. I’ll save that rant for a different post and if we are going to do it any justice it will probably have to be a series.  

 

Typically at this point I am already lost in a playlist but something about today grabs my attention. It is not that I am scared for this flight and think today is the day I finally need these instructions. It is not the delivery or script this particular flight attendant has chosen. Instead it is the simple beauty that without a doubt we will forever hear this presentation when boarding a plane. Why? Because it’s just that important. Our lives are on the line and it makes perfect sense to rehearse any possible scenarios before we take-off. At the end of the day, they would rather take the extra five minutes to repeat themselves and refresh our memories. Ultimately it is for our own good.

 

And then I start to think about my own business and the work I do weekly with my clients. This is very typical for me to take a normal life moment and relate it to business and the work I do. (Ask any of my clients about sleep training my boys and how that single moment taught more about management and employees than any book ever could.) I personally believe that the root to all successful business is structure and communication. In fact, if you really think about a business, it is nothing more than a spider web of communications.  Spider web? Why would he choose to use that word? That sounds negative. I could not disagree more! I hate spider webs just as much or more than the next guy, but they are incredibly beautiful and unbelievably efficient when used for their purpose.  

 

Think about it. A business is nothing more than communication at all levels. Our financial reports and Key Financial Indicators are simply our finances communicating to us. Our Marketing is us communicating to the customers. Our position agreements and systems are an internal communication between management and employees.  I’ll stop there.

 

The point is, our goal is to get as crystal clear on this communication as possible and most importantly NEVER STOP HAVING IT! It amazes me how often we implement meetings at different levels into a company and ownership will ask me, “How long do you think we should do this?” FOREVER!

 

So next time you feel it is unnecessary or redundant to repeat a task or a meeting most of the staff has heard more than once, think of your last flight. While you’re not 35,000 feet in the air on the daily basis, your business has a higher probability of determining your life’s fate than any flight you will ever board. We should really start to treat them like our lives are on the line.

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