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Boeing’s Shaky Ground

Mar 19, 2024 | Conscious Leadership, Daily Trek

Boeing's Shaky Record - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

A recent NYT headline reads: “Boeing Faces Tricky Balance between Safety and Financial Performance.”

Now, did you take a double look of disbelief, or did it make sense to you that safety of passengers actually determines financial performance for the long-term?

Why would Boeing need to be under pressure to show regulators and customers that it takes safety seriously? Maybe because it needs to reassure investors and shareholders about its financial outlook???

Recent headlines also create massive fear to check the make of the airline before we fly. First, because we want to arrive at our destination without becoming a headline or breaking news. And second, we don’t want to have to put the safety briefings into practice.

So, what happens when a company prioritizes short-term financial considerations over why it is in business in the first place? Isn’t safety, which is based on long-term R&D processes, key to the viability of a company putting aircrafts into the world? And what about valuing the lives of passengers (customers) using a service?

Now, a quick search tells us that the mission of Boeing is: “To connect, protect, explore, and inspire the world through aerospace innovation.” And its motto is: “Nothing is more important than safety.”

But their Media Room “News” seems to only share only their “good” news. There is no mention of missing bolts, flying doors, missing panels or cracks in windows.

And this morning I woke up to an email from the CEO of United that assured me that despite recent incidents, which are unrelated (!!!) making news, “You can be confident that every time a United plane pulls away from the gate, everyone on our team is working together to keep you safe on your trip.”

Well, words mean nothing when faced with reality. And Boeing is making quite an unfortunate splash recently, which is why United’s CEO is sending emails to customers.

Maybe this is not just a technical or financial issue. Perhaps if we explore the root cause, we may find a systemic lack of leadership that has lost touch with its core values?

When we create machines instead of dynamic holistic living systems, we lose sight, in the long term, of what truly matters. And what matters is not only the lives of the passengers but also the employees whose lives are touched. Corporate social responsibility should never be a department but an integrated way of doing business.

We face an opportunity to question everything and really examine who we trust with our lives. Mottos and mission statements only go so far.

We are facing a global leadership crisis that has emerged over the past few decades.  We’ve already dived into it here from GE to Credit Suisse and other branded giants. Company longevity and durability are falling fast.

We have an opportunity to create living systems where words align with actions. Because our short term focus on quarter over quarter growth is killing us. This is a time for conscious leaders, who don’t chase market valuations and million dollar payouts, to value human life and focus on why we are in business in the first place.

Maybe it’s time to put radical honesty into practice and stop creating headlines that worship financial performance? Perhaps we each play a  critical role in what and who we trust with our lives?

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