Sign & Digital Graphics

December '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • December 2019 • 13 Congratulate yourself if you've fought off the temptation and regained your bearings. Still, we are human and tend to seek the path of least resistance. It's not that difficult to lose focus of expense control, romance prospects without first qualify- ing them as desirable customers, and/or jump into a price war with an aggressive yet idiotic competitor. Take any of the major airlines—Delta, American, United—and count how many different types of aircrafts they fly. For each different plane, you need a designated crew of people to operate, maintain, service and support it. Not all employees are cross-trained on every piece of equipment, which pushes oper- ating costs higher. After Sept. 11, 2001, in an attempt to lure passengers back into the friendly skies, most airlines dropped fares and restrictions just to fill their planes. Who took them up on their offers? Infrequent fliers who could finally afford that visit to Grandma's. Then, who got inconve- nienced with long security lines filled with inexperienced travelers, require- ments to get to the airport three hours before take-off, and completely-full flights without anything resembling food? The business travelers who kept most airlines aloft for many years. What did the business person do back then? While the major airlines were fighting with the labor unions over wages and benefits, and filing for Chapter 11 asset protection and reorganization, the business traveler looked elsewhere—such as charter companies from regional air- ports and fractional aircraft ownership— to get where they needed to be without the hassle. Sadly, the remaining two sins—mis- treating employees and projecting a pompous attitude of being unbreak- able—are committed with more purpose of conscience. One would have to go out of his way to revoke employee benefits or behave in a fashion that leaves buyers feeling like you are doing them a favor to fill their orders. Interestingly, two airlines—Southwest and JetBlue—ignored what their com- petition was doing and stuck to a well- developed, successful business model—a fleet of one type of aircraft, quick turn- arounds at airport gates, more direct low- fare flights and minimal frills on board. To no-one's surprise, they were the only companies in the airline industry that had remained consistently profitable over the years after 9/11. Unfortunately, the Boeing 737 MAX debacle has severely cut into Southwest's meteoric growth, but, at press time, that issue seems to be on its way to being resolved. So What? One may be asking oneself, "What does the airline industry have to do with me and my sign business?" George Santayana once wrote, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." In our case, if we do not learn from others' gaffes, we are bound to repeat the mistakes that have been made. It's a commonly-held belief that CEOs get fired—or are pressured into early retirement—because of poor financial performance. But that can't be further from reality. As a matter of fact, failure to turn a profit didn't even make the top- five in a Leadership IQ.com study. In a four-year study of nearly 300 organizations that forced out their chief executives, mismanaging change, ignor- ing customers, tolerating low perform- ers, failure to recognize and respond to adverse market conditions, and too much If the board has confidence that you understand customers and the market, can manage change and take timely action, even if that means some tough choices, you will keep your job. S U B S C R I B E A T sdgmag.com/magsubscribe or call 800-870-0904. The ISSUE & MORE Daily eNewsletters Weekly Products & Deals THE NBM SHOW Coast-to-Coast Published Monthly

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