Some Rules are More Important Than Others

I don’t know exactly what happened.

I don’t know if it happened to a male or female.

I do know that my wife nudged me and pointed to the airplane’s pilot reaming out a passenger for touching a flight attendant (perhaps inappropriately?). I heard things including:

  • “We will have law enforcement meet you when we land” (and they did, the Port Authority police escorted the man off the plane as the rest of us were asked to stay seated).
  • “If I hear of anything else I’ll land the plane at the closest airport and have Marshalls meet you.”
  • “Don’t you ever touch one of our attendants again.”

Some things are just off limits, and that includes just about anything on an airplane. One of my thoughts was, if this guy stands up (to confront the pilot) how fast could I get there? (Pretty fast with only two people on aisles ahead of me and – making a judgment call here – I’m bigger, stronger, and faster than both of them.)

Create a disturbance or touch an employee on a plane (or joke about weapons) and there’s no leeway on the rules, you’re in trouble. Steal from your employer and you’re gone.

Other rules may have some slack.

  • Some employee transgressions may need to be accumulated to force action (which is why HR people recommend detailed employee file notes).
  • An appraiser may say a business is worth a certain amount but that may not be what it sells for. I recently, again, had a buyer say he’d pay a couple hundred thousand more than “it’s worth” because he knew what he could do with that particular business.
  • Marketing rules have a lot of flexibility. The only one that’s sacrosanct is to always be marketing. What you do for your marketing doesn’t have to be rigid.

It’s the rules with leeway that make life and business interesting. And what can separate good leaders from not-so-good ones. Knowing how to handle situations to help others, without enabling them.

“People never believe in volcanos, until the lava overflows them.” Philosopher George Santayana

 

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