Learning from mistakes: A Lean look at the April 9 United Airlines fiasco

Although learning from mistakes can be a painful lesson for any organization, any competent CEO or management team knows that whenever anything goes wrong, taking corrective measures against repeat performances must be their first order of business. United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao may have suffered multiple injuries on an April 9th overbooked flight when he was forcibly ousted from his seat to accommodate UA employees, but the airline was by far the biggest loser. This single incident cost United a billion-dollar stock fall, a badly bruised company image or brand that includes everything from major Internet and mainstream media humiliation to ticket refunds, further investigation… and worst of all, the torrent of angry outcries from every corner of the world: “Shame on you, UA!” In the Information Age, there’s no way to bury mistakes like these. Taking a page from lean and lean learning, how can UA repair the damage—and more important, prevent future repeat performances? In his recently published book, Powering the Lean Enterprise: Fundamentals of Lean for Super-Charging Your Company & Your Life, Bill Artzberger, Lean Learning Center’s managing partner with over 25 years of experience in real-world senior management, states: “The goal of lean is to identify and eliminate [...]