I'm infinitely all for sure issues and utterly disinterested in others, which incorporates something mechanical; you'll discover little center floor with me.
Once I put my key into the ignition of my automobile, one thing occurs to make it begin that I don't have to grasp. I really like watching good TV applications, however I don't care how the image will get into my TV. Nevertheless, if you happen to present me a customer support champion, I'm throughout it. I'm utterly inquisitive about individuals who make a distinction.
This brings me to Captain Dennis J. Flanagan of United Airways. Right here's what occurred that piqued my curiosity about this man of character.
My spouse and I have been flying to Arizona to spend every week in Sedona. Our Denver-bound flight was to depart from Baltimore on United Airways. About 30 minutes earlier than our scheduled departure, we sat on the gate ready to board when the door to the Jetway opened. The United captain emerged, strode to the ticket counter, and grabbed the microphone. Based mostly on my substantial flying expertise, quite a lot of doable situations bombarded my mind – none of them good!
Then this captain started talking. "Good morning, women and gents. I'm your captain, Denny Flanagan." He went on to explain the climate we anticipated and our route. Then he mentioned, "We're flying a Boeing 757 this morning. You probably have any questions throughout our flight in regards to the plane or flight, I'll be completely happy to reply them. Our aircraft this morning is in nice form." An extended pause ensued, then, "And I'm in good condition." The passengers chuckled. "By the way in which," he continued, "that is my first flight." Silence … "At the moment!" he added with a smile.
Nice. He does schtick! He's a pilot I can relate to.
Among the many ready passengers, I may see their moods rapidly change like a wave. They hadn't beforehand appeared anxious or nervous, simply detached or drained. After that announcement, they appeared jovial and desirous to board.
We questioned what would occur subsequent. Jimmy Buffet with a parrot? A conga line?
As we started boarding, Captain Flanagan stood on the door to the aircraft handing out playing cards with a 757 pictured on one facet, and an outline of the plane on the opposite. Greeting him, I discussed I used to be an govt coach and marketing consultant who revealed a month-to-month e-newsletter. I mentioned I'd like to jot down one thing about his congeniality and gave him my enterprise card. He replied that he'd love to speak sooner or later.
An hour into our flight, Anne, the purser, spoke over the intercom saying, "Good morning, women and gents. We right here at United consider journey must be enjoyable. So Captain Flanagan is raffling off discounted tickets on United."
Wait a minute, now we're having a raffle? What's subsequent? Karaoke?
She continued, "In your cocktail serviette, please write down the rationale you selected United on your air journey. I'll then draw 4 napkins and browse the responses. These individuals will every obtain a coupon value a reduction on a future United flight. "
The raffle concluded, and I didn't win. However a couple of minutes later, Anne got here down the aisle with certainly one of Captain Flanagan's enterprise playing cards. On the again was this observe: "Mr. Golletz, You’re a valued buyer and your online business is tremendously appreciated. Please let me know the way we will exceed your expectations. Additionally, may you look forward to me after the flight?" Signed, "Capt. Denny."
I couldn't meet him due to a decent connection in Denver, so I requested Anne to inform him I'd name him after my Sedona trip, saying I used to be desirous to know extra about him. Earlier than taking my response to Denny within the cockpit, she informed me what she knew about this uncommon and extraordinary man:
- He institutes the raffle on each flight and posts the cocktail serviette responses the place United staffers can learn them.
- He has numerous copies of a espresso table-sized e-book on United's historical past and presents them to United associates who reply to prospects in distinctive methods.
- He handwrites private thanks notes on the again of his enterprise playing cards to each first-class passenger on each certainly one of his flights.
- He gives his private bank card to unaccompanied minors on his flights to allow them to use the in-flight telephone to name house.
- One among Denny's co-pilots, Buck Wyndham (how's that for a pilot's title?), Was so impressed that he requested Denny if he may document him for a number of days after the brass okayed the thought. The video recording was subsequently used for coaching on the firm.
Once I obtained house from that trip, I spoke to Denny and quite a lot of individuals near him. My major query was, "What created this dedication to prospects?" Denny mentioned, "I do it as a result of it's my job." Not a man liable to self-congratulatory conduct. His spouse, Terri, informed me he has a profound sense of obligation and loyalty that endures regardless of hostile circumstances. His affiliate Bud Potts, one other United pilot, couldn't clarify this high quality in Denny. He expressed his admiration for each who Denny is and what he does.
Hold On Studying from Captain Denny
What have I realized (or reaffirmed) from my expertise with Captain Denny? Listed below are three conclusions:
- For years, United Airways has gone via numerous well-documented challenges. Offering a brilliant spot amid the fray is a frontrunner who demonstrates resilience, persistence, tenacity, a love of individuals, loyalty, and dedication. The place he obtained it isn't as essential as that he has it. Character counts!
- Folks comply with examples reasonably than orders. Steadily, Denny preaches the phrase of customer support to different United associates. They take heed to him as a result of his actions mirror his phrases. He's constant and genuine. He reaffirms what he says with what he does.
When confronted with difficult instances and circumstances, we’ve decisions. We are able to deal with the nice with a optimistic perspective or whine about the way in which issues are and harbor resentment. You've most likely heard it earlier than and I'll say it once more: Resentment is tantamount to ingesting poison and anticipating another person to die. I do know individuals at United who need the corporate to fail due to deep-seated animosity and their have to show themselves proper. On the threat of showing simplistic, I say, "Discover one thing else to do together with your life!"
When instances get powerful, individuals throw within the towel and omit of frustration. To these at United and different corporations who’ve confronted related challenges and gotten out, I say, "Generally leaving is the suitable reply – for each the group and the particular person. Higher to depart than seethe."
To individuals anyplace who resolve to plant their toes and work for productive change – Bravo! Discover different like-minded individuals to offer you the braveness to proceed the combat. Incubate concepts; provoke unbiased motion; take dangers; construct the corporate you need.
To everybody, however most notably the chief managers of United, what are you able to be taught from this story and how are you going to leverage that lesson? Will you’ve got the braveness and smarts to put your bets on individuals like Denny Flanagan?
PS I first wrote about Denny in my month-to-month e-newsletter in 2005. Since then, others have additionally seen his wonderful qualities. For instance, he has appeared on TV community exhibits "This Morning" and "Good Morning America" and has been featured in a page-one story within the Wall Road Journal . In an business that desperately wants heroes, Denny joins pilot Sully Sullenberger (of "put the aircraft down within the Hudson River" fame) as a man value emulating. I'm proud that Denny and I’ve develop into good buddies. When he's in DC or Baltimore, we nonetheless have dinner collectively. (Come to think about it, Denny, you owe me a meal.)
Copyright 2010 Rand Golletz. All rights reserved.