On my trip from USA to India, I spent 8 hours in London. Got tired with all the places that I visited with my heavy bag pack. After check in at the airport, I had a nice cold beer and was ready for my next flight. I was happy that I had an isle seat. I told myself that I will sleep this section of the flight and recharge myself.
As always, I was the last one to board. When I got to the gate, I was told that my seat has been changed. I had 37H an isle and now it was 31E, a middle seat. Just hearing that ticked my fuse off. I asked the agent why it was changed automatically. He politely said that there was a wheelchair passenger who request aisle seat and hence you got lucky. I just refused to board the flight. I asked them to find an isle seat or I was not boarding the flight. The manager was called and he tried to help but there were no seats at all. He even tried to upgrade me but it was a full flight and he could not do anything. Like a kid, I just refused board. My argument was that if I was asked I would have willingly given my seat. Dumping a decision on me especially after a long USA flight and 8 hours lay over, I cannot just fly in a middle seat. I just refused to fly. Then it occurred to me that it will be my loss by not boarding. I will have to go through the pain to reschedule all my meetings. I just politely said thankbyou to the manager and walked to my seat.
The irony of the story is that in the flight that I learned that the person who got my seat – 37H does not require any wheel chair. He must have just created a ruckus to sit next to his girlfriend or wife that he was traveling with. I was now furious and first wanted to hit the lights out of the guy who was sitting on my seat. But inner me told me to take deep breadth and analyze the situation with facts. Here are facts known to me:
- The manager at the gate must have just lied to me to ease his process of angry customer. They are under a tremendous pressure to achieve their target on on time flights.
- The person sitting on my seat must have a genuine reason to seat next to his wife or girlfriend.
I was mad for the first 10 minutes, But my journey was made easy by Nosh, and Lynn CSD crew member with British Airways team. Their positive attitude and calm voice and a strong focus on their customer made me feel good. Corporates in B2C businesses need to focus on training Customer Centricity chapter 8 of my book- My Experiments with Innovation.
Not only today, but all my life Honesty and Process have been at cross roads. One can easily compromise and achieve their goals. But are you compromising on your principles that you live by. I have been living by the principles of Passion | Process| Patience and Hunger | Humbleness | Honesty all my lives. These have been the driving principles. Again and again life puts you at cross roads, to compromise your honesty and achieve your goals.
Let us take a look at examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh in the journey of India’s independence. Both lived by their principles- one non-violence and other violence to achieve their goal or purpose of life which was independence of India. One can argue all day to justify that one method was better than the other. Goals for both were same but the process of achieving was different. Maybe the combination of two enabled to get us the independence.
It is for you to decide on what process to use to achieve your goals. It is you, who will know what and how if your Honesty fabric is to be contaminated to achieve your goals. It is you to define your principles and it is you that has to live it!
Learning’s from this
- Learn the process of what you do the most. I travel so much but still have not learned the process of traveling. Need to spend time to evaluate the challenges.
- Identify key work arounds to get to your goal fast but not compromise your principles.
- Have to foresight to see the challenges you will face in the process of achieving your goals. Have your options ready. Study the facts and utilize the options to come to the decision quickly.
- Live by your principles in your life. It is easy to cut corners achieve your goals but it will be directly proportional to the happiness index of your life.
For travelers here a tips:
- Now days you pay for a seat in the plane but you will have buy the actual assigned seat number. If you have not bought, the airline can move you as required.
- If you travel in a group, have one person assigned to listen and keep an eye on gate changes so you do not miss your flight.
- Never get into an argument, even if you know you are right with the airport authorities. It will just creat problems and frustration.
- Take a chill pill and enjoy a nice discussion with your neighboring seat member, even if you have a middle seat.
- Keep the smile on outward and inward. Make the travel memorable for you and other around you.
- If the isle seat is important for you, make sure you either pay or find a work around to get it!
Learn about how to develop the fabric of Honesty in your Process of Life! Build your Innovation pH balance. Purchase the upcoming book – My Experiments with Innovation. A practical guide to inculcate Habits and Lifestyles to drive innovation!