The working place and the airplane analogy


For many reasons a company is very much like an airplane. As airplanes, there are all kinds of companies: big as a B-777 or an A-380, small as a Bombardier CRJ 100, that work for others as a charter airplane, etc. Also as an airplane the distribution inside is very similar. Managing positions divided from the others, secretary roles servicing both sides... even the pilot position (never to be seen) reminds a little bit of the Chairman roles of a company, something that is there but you can never see. The goal is to always have a safe and pleasant flight. The less time you have to stop, the longer you will be “on air”.


When flying we may encounter some problems, as we do in companies. Maybe some turbulence will panic us for some time. Maybe the person sitting next to us is not our friend, or takes too much of our space. We may also be upgraded to a better position or change our seat to another row. When flying we understand that no one is going to jump from the plane, and if they do it is because they have a parachute (another work, some better position).


During the pandemic this airplane is suffering some problems, most of them coming from the outside that require an entirely new way of solving problems, and that is bringing to light many problems that we couldn't see. The bigger the pandemic is, the more afraid we should be of how the plane is doing, the more we will like to stay in our seat, look down and wait.


But this world lockdown is bringing a very interesting reaction in many companies. While many managers thought that the people would by no chance jump from the plane, the problems coming to light is making many in the plane jump outside… and even more interesting is the fact that many of the people are not jumping with a parachute…


Why is that? Think about it, why would you jump from a flying plane without a parachute? You will do so if whatever you encounter outside is better than staying in. This step is normally only taken by the best people in the plane. The ones seeing that it is by no mean worth staying in the plane as big problems have been detected. The bad ones, the people generating the problems or the people that are in the plane without a reason, those will be confident in their place blind to any problem and not seeing the imminent crash of the plane.


Is there a solution or should we all jump? Once again, as we will do in a plane, we have to ask for help (inside and outside). Bring up the roles of the people that could help the plane not to crash and continue flying. And bring down (if necessary push out) the people generating the problem. Measures should be taken fast, almost every plane crash takes place minutes after the problem started.


Think about it. What plane are you flying in? What is the seat you have (what is your role inside the company)? What are the problems you encountered in the last months? Are people jumping more than before? Are the problems small (such as running out of ice) or are 3 of the 4 engines missing?