Welcome To America’s Airlines
Here’s a hypothetical situation for you: You’re sitting in an airport, waiting at the gate for a departing flight. You see the flight crew come by and they appear to be bickering. The pilot is accusing the copilot of being a dinosaur incapable of meeting the needs of the passengers or the airline or anyone else and questions his competency. The copilot calls the pilot an elitist without enough experience to fly a plane let alone command one and accuses the pilot of wanting to intentionally trying to damage the airline and take as many passengers down with him.
With the flight crew on deck, the passengers are given the go to board the plane. As you walk by the gate counter to enter the gang way to the plane, the airline staff tells everyone that she hopes the pilot fails and kills everyone. That way, it would be proven to everyone beyond a shadow of a doubt that the pilot wasn’t ready to command a plane and the airline can go back to the pilot that already crashed a couple of planes. You might be inclined to turn around and wait for another plane. But this plane is the last one that can get you to your destination on time. Maybe it’s a loved one in trouble and needs you. Maybe it’s the last plane that can get you to that all expenses paid two week cruise of the Hawaiian Islands. You have no choice but to continue onto the plane.
As you enter the plane’s cabin you pass by the plane’s cockpit. Sure enough, the pilot and copilot are still bickering back and forth. The pilot’s an adulterer. The copilot is a closet transvestite. You continue on towards your seat and hope for the best. And as soon as you get to your seat you’re desperately looking for that customer feedback card.
The plane taxis to the runway and takes off. As soon as the plane lifts off the ground the copilot comes over the air thanking you for choosing this airline and then starts to tell you everything the captain did wrong. He didn’t lift the landing gear fast enough. He strayed too far to one side of the runway. He yawned before the plane took off and doesn’t want to take an interest in the passenger’s safety. The copilot wants to turn off the seatbelt sign but the captain refuses and doesn’t want the passengers to be free. As soon as the plane hits turbulence the copilot comes on the speakers telling the passengers that they’re about to die. This happened throughout the entire trip.
Welcome to America’s Airlines, the airline modeled after the two party system. It is a system that promotes a focus on incompetence and rewards disagreement, conflict, and open rebellion. In a normal business relationship, people would actually have more respect for leadership or at least less contempt. It is unfortunate but because of this competition for political votes, the people not in charge can always sit back and nitpick and block any move of the people in charge. That way, by doing what they can to make people look bad, passengers would be more inclined to vote for a new pilot when the opportunity presents itself.
So even if the plane is in a tailspin to certain doom, the copilot always has an incentive to see things end disastrously. When that plane is going down like a jet powered meteorite and the pilot is pulling back on that yoke with all his or her strength, the copilot will have both feet pushing those controls as far forward as they can go, the left arm is busy throwing hammer blows to the pilot’s face, and the right hand is firmly around the microphone to the speakers throughout the cabin telling the passengers that the pilot isn’t even trying to save the plane.
The problem isn’t the pilot or the copilot. The problem is the American public that refuses to understand that the two party system keeps us firmly anchored in a perpetual condition of mediocrity at best and the worst can be synonymous with a plane making a crater in the countryside.
I know whenever I have to work with someone else who’s in charge and we have a difference of opinion, I have to suck it up and follow their lead no matter how poor the choices might be. I might feel like it is the wrong decision but once the choice is made my only choices are to give the choice made my all to make sure it is given a fair shot at success, or walk away. The last thing I’ll do is sit there in the middle of it and do what I can to undermine any chance of success. I would appreciate it if someone would give me the same benefit of a doubt if I am ever cursed with the position of leadership.