Saturday, June 30, 2007

Let's focus on the PLANES!

If there's a theme that runs through Corporate Tool, it's that results are what matter in business. Getting good results should be first and foremost in the mind of any owner, manager, or employee of an organization. If a rule or practice in your organization is getting in the way of acheiving results, it must be ditched. Period. Sure, there can be lots of debate about whether a given rule or practice leads to good results, but let's look at a specific subset: Rules or practices that employees generally don't like.

The Corporate Tool rule for such practices is that they carry a heavy burden of proving they contribute to good results. Employees who are unhappy about nettlesome, pointless rules do not create good results for you. There will, of course, be unpopular rules that easily clear this hurdle - You run a construction company and employees don't like the mandatory random drug tests? Tough; that's an unpopular rule that carries its water.

But what of dress codes? Within reason, they will not offend any but those so lacking in common sense they should be sent packing anyway. But what of dress codes applied in benumbing detail to a group of people who a) don't see the public while working; b) have one of the most stressful jobs imaginable; c) are exceedingly low-paid relative to the importance of their jobs and d) are responsible for the lives and deaths of anyone flying on an airplane in our exceedingly-crowded skies?

As someone who flies a lot, I want HAPPY air traffic controllers. Controllers who feel good about their team, their managers and the job they are doing. I don't want them feeling the least bit harassed and thinking it might be time to kick it in, start their own business and let some new guy with three month's experience keep the planes apart.

And I don't care that, as the FAA spokesperson puts it, this is a simple dress code that "would not raise an eyebrow in the business community. " The "business community" meets with customers, civic leaders, competitors, etc. Controllers sit in a darkened room, far from the public eye, and keep aluminum tubes full of hundreds of human beings from crashing into each other.

The FAA has a bad enough track record in dealing with controllers. It should be bending over backward to make their jobs as bearable as possible, but instead they come up with this. Sad.

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