Roy's Blog

April 16, 2017

United Airlines - an excellent learning example for leaders

The recent debacle with United Airlines has once again demonstrated the woeful state of leadership in some organizations.

And don’t even suggest that it’s not a leadership issue.

It is in every respect. The buck stops at the leader when there are egregious acts committed by their company.

The leader is responsible for the values and the culture of the organization; they get paid the big bucks to ensure that customers are served with respect, employees are inspired to perform and shareholders earn a reasonable return on their investment.

What can leaders learn from the recent United meltdown?

1. The employee outranks the customer. No room for employees meant the plane was “overbooked”and a customer had to go. Really? No other solutions?
Hard to believe, but to me it shouts out the priority of the organization. Where is the leader’s fingerprints on this process? MIA.

2. The “dumber” the rule the more draconian the enforcement measure. Actually there is a range of treatment at play here. On the one hand the customer is enticed to accept compensation for “overbooking” to physical extraction if they don’t accept it.


3. The customer’s personal circumstances don’t matter. The passenger was a doctor and had to get home to see patients but that didn’t seem to matter. He was chosen to go and that was it. No special dispensation here.

4. The first response should be to blame the customer for the outrageous event. After all a “belligerent” individual deserves what they get, right?
Seem to me there should be an organizational value that deals with the customer’s charter of rights.

5. Do whatever it takes to NOT apologize, and get the lawyers involved in the communications process. Have the lawyers tweet out your position to mitigate any potential liability you might face.
Draw the process of repentance out as long as possible hoping the matter will soon fizzle out and the royal OOPS! will soon be forgotten.
Basic customer service leadership 101: own the screwup IMMEDIATELY, apologize - say it… “We screwed up and we are so very sorry.” And go further and state what the plan is to “make it right”.

We apologize

6. The power of social media can be “managed” to keep it from shining the spotlight on egregious acts like this. Leaders need to understand that people now have a powerful voice which they use to expose things that are just plain wrong.
So when things go awry, leaders need to anticipate a social media response and get out in front of it.

This event so far has cost the United shareholder dearly and there is more potential bad news coming in the form of a law suit.

United is not the only organization committing unforgivable acts on their customers but we should take the opportunity as leaders to reflect on how our organizations deal with similar situations.

Don’t ask for an organizational review.

Get on it yourself.


Sales blogger


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series


  • Posted 4.16.17 at 03:03 am by Roy Osing
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April 13, 2017

If you can influence you can lead - guest post

If you have lived long enough, engaged in business, served in the military, or participated in sports, you have your own ideas regarding “leaders” and “leadership.”

You’ve had parents, teachers, and employers who have taught you about leadership.

You have observed political figures in the media.

Examples of leadership are everywhere.

How do you define leadership? Whether at home, work, or within your community, do you consider yourself a leader?

Leadership has many definitions.


One definition is the ability to influence. Since each and every one of us has the ability to influence, I’ll challenge you to accept that every day you live your life, you have the opportunity to be a leader.

I’ve heard it said; “The effect you have on others is the greatest currency there is.” How are you using your “currency”, your leadership, your influence?

Everything you do or don’t do, say or don’t say, will have an impact and influence those around you. My challenge to all of us, is to take this role seriously.

We expect those in power, responsible for our well-being, to be good leaders. If we hold them to a higher level, we should expect nothing less from ourselves.
We look to our leaders as public servants and expect them to “serve” us and our best interests.

As a leader, look for opportunities on a daily basis to be a positive influence, and make a difference in the world around you. Lend a helping hand, speak an encouraging word, or share a smile.

Maybe your leadership starts within your own family, neighborhood, community or job.
When I was raised, my parents always encouraged me to treat people the way I would like to be treated.

This is such a basic principle, one that still holds true today.

Leadership isn’t difficult if you make a choice to treat the people in your life the way you would like to be treated.

Be a leader and use your influence to positively impact those around you.

Lead selflessly with integrity, compassion, humility, and forgiveness.

If we take our leadership roles seriously, just imagine what a wonderful world this would be.

Bob Zimmermann is a Naval Academy graduate and a current Captain for United Airlines. He is a partner with Vector Academy. He is a motivational speaker focusing on leadership and human performance training.

  • Posted 4.13.17 at 05:31 am by Roy Osing
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April 10, 2017

Once a #leader always a leader

There isn’t life AFTER leadership; there’s life WITH leadership.

My formal organizational career passed 14 years ago when I was relatively young after a 30 year career as an executive leader.

My corporate afterlife has been an interesting ride; I smothered myself in leisure activity and explored many potential opportunities to consume my new freedom.

I have been in my “post real job” era long enough now to understand just how significantly my leadership tenure has influenced my entire life.

Leadership traits become ingrained; involuntary.

You can’t escape them. They own you despite your desire to find new bearings and a different direction.

Deep down you will always be that leadership person.

In your career afterlife your leadership genes can be a good thing or not.

I plan things well in advance. Vacations and other significant events are booked well in advance with an execution plan laid out in terms of what specifically has to be done, by whom and when. And I always have a back up plan ready when things go awry.

I place a great deal of emphasis on getting stuff done. I get extremely frustrated with protracted conversations about possibilities. I need to pick a path and DO IT. Wandering through dreamland is not an activity that gives me any satisfaction whatsoever.

I am a problem solver. If an issue comes up I need to resolve it. Not talk about it; but find a solution. Now; not next week. Sense of urgency continues to run through my veins.

I keep a journal in my calendar on my electronic device. I have a “record of proceedings” of my life; experiences and memories. It seems the proclivity to have a record of achievement and observation never wanes.

I value honest people who approach their lives in a simple way. I avoid people who thrive on - and love to talk about - the many things they are able to juggle and achieve in their daily busy lives.

I can spot insincerity a mile away from people who “grin” at me and who try to impress others and standout with no platform. I walk away.

I would rather take the initiative than follow the lead of another. WOW! This has produced some interesting conversations with our friends. It’s something I must do; it’s gravity.

I schedule every personal and family event on my calendar even though my dance card is replete with unclaimed territory.

I have a strong opinion on most issues and voice it perhaps too frequently and with an excess of passion. Casual conversations can easily morph into debates.

I have not mellowed out much over the years and continue to see little value in a “milk toast” persona. I continue to resist yoga and meditation even though I recognize their merits. Maybe someday.


I practise my art of BE DiFFERENT with everyone in my personal community including my family. I will likely never be known as someone who is the SAME as everyone else but one who goes beyond limits to standout from the crowd.

I place an exceedingly high priority to create experiences for my family that hopefully will be remembered by my grandchildren in particular as cool things we all did together.

I am intolerant of “dumb rules” in organizations that I deal with as a customer. Policies that make no customer sense fuel my fire to say something about it. And I do.

I wonder why business problems haven’t really changed and am frustrated that what I believe to be simple axioms of success aren’t practised far and wide today; people complicate organizations needlessly. The education system lags behind.

Practising the art of leadership doesn’t end after your formal career has ended, and retirement, whatever the hell that means, takes over.

For better or for worse you own it.

It’s yours forever.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
9 steps to be a change leader
How to AMAZE your customers in 4 easy ways

  • Posted 4.10.17 at 04:00 am by Roy Osing
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April 3, 2017

9 steps to be a change leader

Standout leaders are proactively adaptive who thirst for change. They drive change as opposed to letting change drive them.

They enthusiastically embrace the change process and treat it as an opportunity for the organization and themselves as opposed to treating change as a threat and something that can be avoided.

They are good at anticipating how things will unfold but are brilliant reaction agents, reacting to an unforeseen event when it occurs. When Plan A is in jeopardy they move to Plan B in a heartbeat.

They are Change Leaders, as opposed to their more traditional organizational cousin, the Change Manager.

Change leader

Change Managers want to perpetuate the momentum of the business, and reluctantly move into the change mode when the forces on them leave no other option.

The Change Manager isn’t GREAT at reacting; they are limp reaction agents, reluctant to change and get dragged into it kicking and screaming with the real motive to keep the status quo for as long as possible.

They act from the belief that change can be affected in a controlled and organized fashion and tend to look to incremental improvements to address the challenges of the day. Change Managers are students of the softer more evolutionary methods of organizational change.
Incremental thinkers drive incremental change which often falls short of what is required.

Don’t look to Change Managers to be proactive and initiate required changes in your organization; to have an adrenalin-rushed reaction to move in a different direction as a result of unanticipated events.

They simply will not do it. And don’t look for an out of the box alternative to the current way of operating your business; they will always be governed at best by modest incremental changes to the current operating model.

Change Leaders, on the other hand, understand that real change with breakthrough benefits for the organization is the result of introducing discontinuities to the current business model.

They are proactive and are constantly on the lookout for operating models for running the business so that revolutionary break-through changes can be achieved. And in the face of unexpected events challenging the performance of their organization, expect Change Leaders to enthusiastically react with a sense of urgency to determine the appropriate life-saving course of action to take.

Change Leaders will present your organization with tough decisions because their proposals will require taking higher risks to yield greater rewards. Expect them to make your organization uncomfortable with the inherent risks associated with the order of magnitude changes they bring forward.

You must develop a plan to be a Change Leader; it won’t happen by serendipity. You will discover that most of your colleagues will fall into the change manager category and that differentiating yourself is very achievable and will get you the kind of currency in your organization that will highlight you for future opportunities.

These 9 steps will help you be a change leader.

1. Use your personal network to discover the most critical issues the organization is facing. You can’t lead change unless you have an intimate understanding of the threats and opportunities likely to impact your business future.

2. Focus on the critical few things that will deliver the maximum number of benefits to the organization. Beware of the long action plan list; you have neither the time nor the energy to do ten or twelve things really well nor will they be equally important in terms of the positive impact they produce.
Look for 20% of the actions - your critical few list - that will deliver 80% of the needed results and get going.


The long action plan list - pursuing numerous tactics - is a symptom of sloppy strategic thinking: a lack of appreciating the few actions required to produce the greatest impact.
Chasing numerous tactics may make you feel good about how busy you are, but it can be deadly in terms of achieving real progress. 

3. Be anal about executing your top priorities. Don’t get mesmerized by the brilliance of your idea; it’s worthless until you do something about it and achieve positive results.

4. Take on a let’s do it differently attitude and way of working. Avoid linear thinking. Be a lateral thinker and look for out-of-the-box solutions to problems in the organization.

5. Purge your vocabulary of words like evolutionary change and incremental change in favor of breakthrough and revolutionary change.

6. Get on the internal speaking circuit. Talk up the importance of creating discontinuity for your organization as the way to meet the challenges your organization is facing and generate economic opportunity.

7. Increase your depth and breadth of experience and expertise. Look for job opportunities throughout the organization; don’t get pigeonholed in one specialist role.

8. Read insatiably, and develop a portfolio of new concepts and ideas that could be applied to solve your pressing business problems or lead your organization in new directions.

9. Seek out others in the organization others who aspire to be Change Leaders. Encourage them. Mentor them. Support them in their day to day activities. And be seen to be doing it.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
How to AMAZE your customers in 4 easy ways
How a leader can kill creativity in 6 easy steps

  • Posted 4.3.17 at 07:34 am by Roy Osing
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