Friday, September 09, 2005

BECOMING REAL IN BUSINESS

President
United Airlines
Elk Grove Township, Illinois

The world has been through a lot. The employees of United Airlines have been through a lot -- and more. It wasn't until two weeks after September 11 that I gave myself permission to grieve. I was at the opening night of the Chicago Symphony. I just listened to the music and cried. And kept crying.

I am still grieving. But shock has given way to determination. September 11 forced us to get rid of the BS in our thinking. Before September 11, we wanted to be the biggest and best airline. Today, we just want to survive. Before September 11, we believed that size would forgive a lot of our errors. Now we have no room for error. Before September 11, we took a lot of things for granted: that business would always get better, that demand would grow. We no longer take anything for granted.

That said, our sense of purpose has never been greater. We are returning to our core values. Whether it's in advertising, product positioning, or the way that we view ourselves and our customers, we're more sincere in what we say and what we do.

Business has become more real.

Buddha says; "Warded in act and word, in eating temperate, with truth I clear the weeds; and full of bliss is my deliverance"

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