What happens when all hell breaks loose

When All Hell Breaks Loose

Question: How do you use good emotional intelligence when things blow up?

That’s what happened to me and thousands of other people, as we chose August 8, 2016 to travel with Delta. The entire computer system, originating from Atlanta was down, the phrase “when all hell breaks loose” came to mind, as I was trying to figure out how to get to my destination.

USA Today’s coverage of the crisis said that Delta blamed it on the Atlanta Power Company, but the power company fired back by saying that was simply not the case. One airline analyst said that Delta is one of the few airlines without a redundant computer system and that they really didn’t prepare for a situation like this to happen.

Lesson 1: Don’t ever lie. It something bad occurs, explain it, fix it, and come up with a system so it doesn’t happen again.
Lesson 2: Are you prepared if “all hell breaks” loose in your world? Act now to prevent that from ever happening.

Regardless of the reason for the shutdown, there were a lot of disgruntled people. Some were so upset about being inconvenienced that they lacked emotional control. They were the ones who were red-faced, talking loudly (okay—yelling) and using some very creative and colorful language.

Lesson 3: Plan your wars. Do you really want to waste energy, elevate your blood pressure and create negative energy all around you for something like this? It’s going to hurt your chances for a good night’s sleep in the hotel you must now stay in.

The seasoned travelers dealt with it and did their best to make it through this journey. For me, it meant rescheduling many appointments I had set up for my business trip to the Mid-West, but my clients were very understanding. All of them tried to help me reschedule them so that we could still do their executive coaching and training.

Lesson 4: Let clients and family know what’s going on immediately. Apologize, even though it wasn’t’ your fault. It lets them know you respect their schedule and how this change might inconvenience them.

Because my flight did not head out until a day after it was supposed to, Delta provided a very suitable hotel and a cool overnight kit. One of the Delta ladies told me this is what they give folks in first class.

Lesson 5: What can I learn from this experience? Will I get to stay in a hotel I’ve never stayed in before. Will I eat at a new restaurant and maybe try some different cuisine? Will I have thinking time so that I can improve my life in some way?

Some people just stayed at the airport all night. I felt sorry for the ones who slept on the floor. Their children were all wrapped in blankets and it looked like one of those times I took my family camping.

Lesson 6: We’re always looking for a chance to “pay forward.” Buy a Starbucks card for a family that looks like they’re just waking up from sleeping on the floor and could use a little sunshine to start their day.

What was very cool, though, is that the Atlanta Delta airline and airport food and store employees really tried to stay upbeat about the whole thing. (And I must admit, having some live jazz in the center of the airport concourse put a few smiles on peoples’ faces. ) That made such a difference

Lesson 7: Make a difference in people’ lives in a situation like this. I told every Delta airline employee I came across what a great job they were doing in this tough situation. Every one of them stopped what they were doing, smiled and acted like they hadn’t heard that yet that day. And I watched how they approached the person after me with a smile and more energy.

Are you telling your employees and co-workers how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them? Do it today. Then, watch how they smile and how they have extra energy from what you’ve said. You just made a difference in their lives. Congratulations on being a real leader!

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The Executive Coaching Experience
by Daniel P. Chiodo
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