If Wall Street were an airline
Last January, when USAir Flight 1549 landed on the Hudson with Captain Sullenberger at the controls, some of Wall Street's most vaunted institutions had collapsed, the bailout was in full swing, and trust in business was at all time lows. Particularly disturbing to me was public's damaged confidence in business leadership. An Edelman survey of leadership from that period reported that just 17 percent of respondents said they trusted what they heard from business leaders--one in five. Would you fly if you had such low confidence in the skills and judgments of commercial pilots?
Enter Captain Sullenberger on that snowy January day. What were the odds that the captain of that plane―turned into a glider when its engines were disabled―would be a former military aviator with more than 40 years experience, an expert on aviation safety and an experienced glider pilot?
It wasn't just Captain Sullenberger who resonated with the world, it was also the crew and their flawless behavior. And what really sticks with me from that day is that, as the plane was floating in the Hudson, Captain Sullenberger went back through, not once but twice to make sure every passenger was off.
Now imagine if business had that kind of can-do, can't-fail attitude toward the safety, well-being and prosperity of its customers, investors and shareholders? Imagine, for that matter, if business in general had a safety record like that of the air transport industry, where, in 10 years from 1998, the accident rate was cut almost in half?
Cool under pressure, 100-percent accountable, and always putting the crew and passengers first, Captain Sullenberger exhibited the kind of can-do, can't-fail leadership that business needs as we re-build it into a trustworthy, airworthy enterprise. If the public is going to "fly" us, then it seems to me that we should expect the captains of industry to think more like airline captains, professionally and morally responsible for every passenger in every seat.
Posted by: DavidCurrier1 | October 20, 2009 12:41 PM
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