Life and business on a human scale

The scene

I’m at a conference center near Denver. It’s the last day. I know a fellow attendee and I are on the same flight and she has reserved the shuttle, with her as the sole passenger. I call to add myself to the reservation, same van, same time, same location, same destination. Expected cost $60+.

The action

The agent is asking about how much luggage and how many are checked. I just happen to mention I have skis.

Her: “Actual skis? Any you are going to check them?”

Me: “Yes, it’s fine. The airline doesn’t mind. I checked them on the way down, and will check them on the way back.”

Her: “Well, with skis we have to send a special van, so that will be $279.”

Me: laugh “That’s absurd.” “You have a van coming and only one other passenger. The skis are in a bag, and will easily fit in the van. I’m not traveling with a whole ski team.”

Her: “I’m sorry, that’s the policy.”

Me: “So I can’t ride with my friend in the nearly empty van you are already sending?”

Her: “No.” Me: “That’s absurd.” (I didn’t bother with goodbye).

Of course it worked out, and I got a better ride that cost me nothing.

Policy vs people

Business owners and managers, I understand the need for “policy”, I really do. But when you don’t hire people who you can train and trust to empower them for real-life circumstances, you are creating a less workable, less kind, less human world. And, you are losing business. For good. And in the changing landscape of transportation options with Uber, Lyft and the rest, can you really afford to be so dogmatic in your business model? That’s retorhical – I think not.



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