A Simple System Could Have Avoided This Chaos!



You might have had a similar problem to the one I had on Tuesday evening – involving airport delays, tired passengers (waiting to get on a plane and sit down), and poor communication.  Or even a total lack of communication.    It made me think about the ‘customer journey/ experience.

Could this happen in your business?

A simple breakdown in communication can cause chaos, annoy, irritate and inconvenience people.  And usually the failure is a simple one that could so easily have been avoided.

So what happened?

After a really busy trip to the UK with events and appointments to attend, people to see, things to do and a little bit of social time built in, Andy and I were ready to come home.  We had our bags packed and carefully loaded to travel on hand luggage only.

We arrived in plenty of time and had a coffee and something to eat.  We relaxed and were ready to go to the gate as soon as it was announced.  Nice and early.  So far, so good.

We got to the gate and were immediately pushed straight through to the stairs/exit and into the tunnel, ready to board the plane. “Wow, no messing about then!”  I said and was greeted with a smile by the Ground Crew who expected a fast departure for us all.

The passengers who needed assistance were at the front, with the priority ticketholders.

And we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

The babies were getting fractious.  The parents were feeling awkward and couldn’t settle their children.  The older and infirm were tired and wanted to sit.  No seats in the tunnel or on the stairs.  

Like all good Brits we waited and waited some more.  We are famous for it.  In the absence of any update we were all still standing, carrying our bags – we didn’t even put them down as we were expecting to be moved on soon.

Eventually the Ground Crew member who had directed us straight to the departure tunnel arrived but there were no announcements.

I asked what was happening and how long it was likely to be before we could board – we were so close.

I wasn’t expecting the response I got:

‘Ah, we’re just waiting for the Crew to land, then we can get them on board and get you all on board’.

‘What??!’ – the Crew for our plane were still in the air.  “so how long are we talking about?”

His response was ‘we don’t really know but I’d say at least another half an hour’.

No more updates after that until we were allowed on – and yes, it was longer than half an hour.

No-one from the airline had told the Ground Crew that we were all waiting for an empty plane without a crew.  Ground staff knew the plane was ready . . . so they sent us straight down.

A simple error – possibly on both sides – that caused havoc and created a lot of bad feeling.  Tempers were frayed and we were left in the dark until we actually got on.

The Flight Crew had to deal with a lot of angry and upset passengers.

Regardless of whose fault it was – this was a very unattractive experience.

One of my favourite phrases is “MANAGE EXPECTATIONS



  1. HAVE A SYSTEM – if someone had communicated with the Ground Crew this could have been avoided.  If the Ground Crew had checked with the Flight Crew this could have been avoided.  So many tiny interventions would have made all the difference.
  2. USE THE SYSTEM.  Maybe this IS in their system but one failure shouldn’t ‘sink the ship’.  Had there been a second/safety check it could have all been beautifully managed.  People’s expectations could have been managed and no-one would have been kept standing for well over an hour with no clue as to what was happening or when.  Reputations could have been maintained . . . and ‘tempers’.
  3. IMPROVE THE SYSTEM.  If this is something that should have been done, a safety check/call from the Ground Crew would have picked it up.  This is why it’s never about ‘blame’ but about Teams supporting each other and picking up each other’s errors before any clients need to know!

So if something goes wrong in YOUR BUSINESS – who is looking to blame others for it and who is looking to support their teammates and colleagues for the benefit of the paying customers?

Reputation takes a while to build but a single incident of systems failure can cause a lot of damage.

It’s no surprise to me that when I studied Systems Failures at Honours Level they focussed on two main areas where there was a plethora of case studies:

The NHS and where it fails

Airplane Failures

Is it worth taking a look at those 3 Systems Rules and seeing how YOU can apply them in your business?

Systems have freed me up to be confident that things are being done to a certain standard, consistently.  And freed me up to travel and see which companies HAVE good systems and use them and which companies really don’t seem to care a jot!

It’s all useful experience.  I hope you find these 3 simple rules as useful as I do.


Next Steps:

  1. Follow me – Mary –  on LinkedIn.  Each week I share ONE SIMPLE RESOURCE you can implement to improve your life and business.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/marycollin1/ 
  2. Want more info/help?  Talk to me in the free facebook group (see intro) or join us inside the membership – remember there’s no time commitment and in 4 months you’ll go through the whole cycle and see why people stay.  And you can decide to love it or leave it. 

    The most affordable coaching programme, resources and support to help you really make the change you’re looking for.


There’s a lot of noise out there. 

We receive hundreds of notifications every day. Emails, text messages, calls, conversations, etc. 

It’s a lot. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 

That’s why being a voice of clarity in a world full of noise can be such a powerful content strategy. 

What do I mean by that?

Let’s take the topic of A.I. as an example. 

There’s so much talk about this happening these days. 

So many new tools being launched every single day. 

It’s hard to keep up. 

So, you can act as the source for clarity, by curating and simplifying all the noise out there for your audience. 

That’s exactly what Roméo did here:

You see what he did there?

From a world of thousands of A.I. apps that are out there, he found a way to share the most important ones. 

It’s a simple post. But it’s precisely its simplicity that makes it work. 

Because it gives clarity. 

Remember this:

In a world where people are on the verge of being overwhelmed all the time, bringing them clarity is a powerful move 😉


EG:  One of the most difficult things for so many people – when it comes to posting regularly on LinkedIn – is coming up with consistent ideas for content and what content works best for your business. 

We’ve created a 32-page E-Book full of our collective knowledge on LinkedIn. What works best and what strategies will get you more leads from LinkedIn. 

Want a copy? 

Click here: www.resources.90dayplanning.co.uk/Content-Secrets  

Posted in

Leave a Comment