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Old United “Speech” Ad Still Resonates Strongly in the Digital Age

I was reminded of this old United Airlines ad a few days ago during a training session, and thanks to YouTube I could quickly find it again. It remains a classic capturing in just 60 seconds, of the core problems with corporate communication mindsets.

How do unproductive mindsets get embedded? Bad habits, mostly:

  • We get too busy to keep in touch at a more personal level.
  • We are impatient to get to the goal, with a lack of attention to the quality of the journey.
  • We assume others think like we do, without stopping to check.
  • We don’t take the time to build trust.
  • We keep our bosses happy to the exclusion of everyone and everything else.

In today’s electronic communication age, of course, it is even worse than portrayed in this ad. People deliver bad news via e-mail or Twitter because they don’t want to deal with the outcomes in person. Indeed, the three pillars of our Foundations of Excellence (Unshakable Trust, Communication that Counts and the Pursuit of Truth) all deal with developing the skills needed to communicate with, respect, involve and trust clients and fellow employees so that they contribute constructively and willingly to accomplishing your mission(s).

Back to this video:  Here is a boss who has had a wake-up call. His best client fired him, claiming neglect. The phone and the fax had replaced a true personal connection. Then, we see an example of how to respond to events properly. Rather than get mad (or worse, get even) this boss changes his own mindset, stepping back to clearly assess the truth of the situation. He then determined what outcomes his organization should seek (E+R=O!) That process led him to take a forward-thinking course of action to solve the real problem, not just with the one client, but across the organization. I liked his chances of success then, and I still like them today!

Keep this video link handy. It is a great reminder of what building and maintaining all business relationships are founded on, even in this digital communication age.

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