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Choose your battles

By August 4, 2015July 15th, 2018Best Practices, Leadership

Choose your battlesWe all have more objectives we’d like to achieve than we’ll ever get around to achieving – or even attempting to achieve. So don’t be too quick to scoff at or ridicule an individual or organization that does something that on the surface seems really dumb.

Take Delta Airlines for example. I live in Atlanta, and therefore for the most part don’t have any choice. It also means I get LOTS of opportunities to observe the annoying/aggravating/dumb things Delta does.

Recently, for example, I was delayed due to a mechanical problem. OK, I was not in a giant hurry that day and was also in a good mood since I was traveling to the kick-off session of a new, large project. I willingly – almost cheerfully – chalked up the delay to “stuff happens.”

Then the pilot announces that the mechanical problem has been fixed! Fixed, but… Since the flight from Atlanta (the busiest airport in the world) to Chicago O’Hare (the 2nd busiest airport in the world) was delayed, a minor route change was required. OK, I think, why would he feel the need to share that? He felt the need because it meant another 30-45 minutes of delay.

Now the story gets to the really annoying/aggravating/dumb part.

I’m guessing the pilot decided to provide more detail because HE was ticked off at Delta for an annoying/aggravating/dumb situation. He explained, “I need to go back to the gate agent’s computer to pick up the printout for the new route.” (In 2015, the pilot has to leave the aircraft to pick up a fresh printout? Seriously? But wait! It gets even goofier…) “Then I need to re-key the data into the aircraft’s computer.”

I can talk to my phone while riding my freaking bicycle to get directions, and the pilot of jet that flies 500+ mph needs to manually re-key???

Time for me to take a breath… Delta’s net for 2Q 2015 was a cool $1 Billion – with a “B.” The people running this airline are not stupid. They choose their battles. And are likely quite wise about choosing them. So the lesson?

It’s actually two lessons:

  1. Analyze and prioritize what you choose to do
  2. Provide value to your customers/employees/colleagues by helping them prioritize what they choose to do

Here’s a simple, powerful tool to help.

Choose your battles

Delta, I’m sure will eventually update their computer systems to eliminate the goofy situation related above. For now, doing so is “on the list.” I think Delta Airlines (who just pocketed a $Billion) chooses it’s battles very wisely. How about you?


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