Monday, October 31, 2011

QANTAS – where is the humanity?

Many people forget that a company – in fact any organisation is only as good as the people in it and in fact would not exist without people. A company is a human construct without a life of its own.

Now I last wrote about QANTAS with a bit of ‘tongue in cheek’ as it were. But the overall sentiment expressed is quite valid. Wreck a company’s name and it may be gone forever. What CEO Alan Joyce has to remember is that while the QANTAS Board may have agreed with him and with the views of various financial and legal advisors, the World has looked on in amazement. This action cannot be compared to the Waterside dispute decades ago – who in the world cared about Patricks? Only Australia! QANTAS is an entirely different situation. It is a company with a worldwide reputation for safety and reliability. It is an Australian brand.

Because of the action taken by the CEO a few thousand shareholders may applaud the improved value of their share portfolio but who else does? The passengers stranded in airports around the world and Australia? People forget – wrong – EVERYBODY forgets that a company is a service organisation. No matter what the company does it serves someone. A mining company serves the purchaser of the ore; a shipping company serves whoever entrusts them to transport their goods and an airline company serves the travelling public. These are PEOPLE.

The service aspect MUST come first. Provide the best possible service and people will pay. Therefore money follows service. It always has and it always will – not the other way around. Service does not and cannot follow money. Service means serving people. A machine, an aircraft, cannot provide a service, only a person can. This is where humanity comes in. Money serves no one – it is a medium of exchange – made of plastic, paper, or whatever. The number one priority is (or should be) people not money.

I am not going to buy into the dispute QANTAS has with the various unions – all I know is that every problem has a solution. Holding a gun to anyone’s head is not negotiating; grounding 108 planes is not negotiating; withholding maintenance labour is not negotiating. Sitting around a table and TALKING – expressing views – listening – compromising is negotiating. Not an all or nothing approach. Everyone will have to change their position.

I await the outcome of the Fair Work Australia process with great interest. I just hope that wise heads will prevail and that a way forward is delineated not a path back. Nothing stays still and only a forwards thinking and progressive resolution will survive into the future and benefit the service QANTAS is trying to provide – in spite of Alan Joyce. I still believe he was wrong to do what he did.

No comments: