Avoid Becoming the Next Case Study

“Too much inside out thinking, instead of outside in thinking” is one point of view.

Emphasis on operational excellence to the exclusion of customer service goes another explanation.

“Sloppy communication between teams is my bet” says another consultant.

Everyone has an opinion on the hot topic of the week: the public relations disaster underway for United Airlines for forcibly removing a paying customer from an oversold flight on Sunday. The crisis has cost the company about $1 Billion in market value as of Tuesday, April 11.

Most leaders and executives watching are thinking “Thank goodness that’s not me/my company getting hammered!”

But it very easily could be you/your company. This is the social media world we live in. That video went viral overnight … at the rate of 20 million views per hour in China alone, according to one NPR story.


  • Every interaction could end up on the evening news. Be sure yours are for the POSITIVE results!
  • In this age of social media, someone is probably taking video at all times. Everything happening in public could get posted online.
  • Conduct yourself accordingly, personally and professionally.
  • Shape your company culture by putting your employees first. Happy employees always lead to happy customers.

We will likely never know the root cause(s) of the United Airlines debacle, but everyone will have a theory. It will be studied in business schools for years to come as “what NOT to do.”

Be sure you are not the NEXT case study.

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1. Sign up to receive the PeopleResults blog at Current.