Many of you know that I will go out of my way to fly on British Airways. Why? It is an emotional attachment that goes back a number of years where one amazing British Airways team member named Doris Walsh rescued my daughter at London’s Heathrow Airport when she missed her flight. Doris did the unimaginable and took my daughter home to her house, fed her a warm, home-cooked meal and let her sleep at her house for the night. This is the “Wow!” type emotional experiences of legends! What I call “Epic Shit!”
Recently, as I was sitting on another British Airways flight, I experienced yet again, an amazing piece of leadership from the British Airways flight attendant named Kira Cesford.
We were taxiing out for take-off from London and she came up to the gentleman sitting behind me in the business class cabin and asked him if she could see his boarding pass. He produced it, and it turned out that there was an empty seat in the last row of the business class cabin so he decided to ‘Up Grade’ himself and sit in the empty seat. Ms. Cesford was amazing. She very politely yet firmly asked the guy to go back to his assigned seat. He started to escalate. She was tiny in size but did not back down and very firmly yet, empathetically, moved him to his assigned seat. All in a day’s work for her I’m sure.
So what’s the leadership lesson here? Leaders do tough things, and when the going gets tough, they do not back down. For example, when someone who is clearly in the wrong pushes back, they do it with class and don’t make a scene.
Flight crews (especially flight attendants) have a tough job too. Everyday they are on stage. The brand image of the organization they work for is on the line with each and every flight. They have the ability to create a “Wow!” experience or burn the brand. The choice is up to them.
As a leader, how you build an Epic Culture is up to you. Is it nature or nurture? I think it is both. It starts with the people that you recruit, assess, hire and develop.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
The audio version of Bob’s #1 best seller It’s Already Inside is now available on Audible.Brand, British Airways, Business Culture, Customer Culture, Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, Epic Culture, It's Already Inside, Leader, Leadership, Robert Murray, Robert S. Murray