Can a CEO’s Words Fix Delta’s Woes?
On the heels of massively long telephone hold times to speak with an agent, Delta Airlines recently sent an email message from its CEO to millions of its most loyal passengers (the 100 million people in their SkyMiles program).
A smart gesture, since flying today can be a nightmare. From understaffed airlines to record passengers to weather delays to incessant mask wearing, flying the friendly skies is anything but. As I write this blog, I’m coming off a delayed flight and having to deal with my boyfriend’s lost bag – which had a Priority tag on it – and only had to make it from Las Vegas to Denver.
Getting back to the CEO email, what stands out is the use of the words ‘You’ and ‘Your’ 44 times. Bottom-line, Delta wants its loyal fliers to know that this isn’t about them; it’s about you. It hears the displeasure and is committing to taking action.
Yes, these words will ring hollow if Delta does not follow through on their word and improve. But from my experience, if a CEO has the confidence and courage to admit to dropping the ball, things should change for the better very soon.
JILL, WHAT CAN I DO? As it relates to your employees, take a lesson from this playbook. Employees are smart – they know when things are dysfunctional. To the extent that you acknowledge what is going on, how employees are impacted, what you are going to change, what’s in it for them, and how you are going to measure and communicate progress, you will maintain or increase engagement. Additionally, other people in your organization may take note of your honest and timely action, and follow suit. Show them how it’s done, leader.