Friday, April 12, 2013

The Way F O R W A R D > > > >

In addition to authoring this blog, I am also the founder and co-Administrator of a sizable Facebook group comprised of frontline employees of my airline employer. Our focus is to work together to build harmony and unity between the workgroups of the two subsidiary airlines recently merged into one. We strive to create and maintain a positive, cooperative atmosphere, we empower each other by sharing methods and concepts, we encourage growth in our members by expanding perspectives and thinking "outside the box." Our group is called "The Way F O R W A R D > > > >".

Companies are institutions and institutions address issues in an institutional way. The Way FORWARD is an informal, grassroots movement of mutuality which isn't constrained in its approach to address the same issues. As a result, "common sense" can often prevail where "methodology development" is simply not required.

We discuss everything from our views on the future of the corporation to the best practice for taking a premium cabin meal order onboard one of our flights (trickier than you might think). We often compare notes to look for "best practices" to deal with everyday problems in our workplace. It's a virtual "meet and greet" that results in heightened communication and understanding between the two "sides" of the merger.

Although we arrive at our newly unified airline from different origins, each side with its own rich aviation history, we look to our future through the lens of our group's vision statement:

"I am the face of ...., the face that my customers will remember when they reminisce about their flight experience. I am honored to follow in a proud, storied tradition of service and safety.

I am committed to my own success, to the success of my colleagues, and to that of my company. The opinions of detractors who attempt to distract us from achieving our potential are just that: opinions and distractions.

I do not need a charismatic leader at the helm of .... to tell me that I am a good, worthy, respected member of a winning team whose future promises to be so much brighter than its collective past.

Because I declare it every time I put on my uniform and go to work....

One trip, one crew, one flight, one passenger-at-a-time.

THIS is the way F O R W A R D > > > >"

We recognize and reinforce those among us who epitomize our vision with a peer award that we call the ORDER of the FLYING CARABINER, or "CLIPPER", for short. Any member of The Way FORWARD may nominate a frontline employee (not necessarily a member of the group) for the award by posting a short narrative of what makes that employee noteworthy. Once seconded, the nomination must receive supporting comments from at least 10 other members. If successful, the nominee is presented with the CLIPPER (an engraved dual carabiner) and personalized notecard. It's all just a tangible way of saying, "Thank you for the job that you do. We are proud to work alongside of you."

Recently, colleagues from Inflight, Flight Operations and Customer Service all received the CLIPPER for the roles they each played in helping a customer make a perilously tight connection to reach his dying mother. The customer arrived in time and recounted for the press how these employees made the journey both successful and more meaningful.

We work for the world's largest commercial airline, yet we see ourselves as caring individuals who want to see and hear each customer as an individual...

"one trip, one crew, one flight, one passenger-at-a-time."

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