'Yes, But Other Than That … '

If we’re all in a gloomy mood as we close out one year and anxiously wait for another, there is certainly plenty to make us all pretty gloomy indeed at the moment. Read the latest IATA report? Maybe the biggest surprise over American Airlines’ bankruptcy was that it took so long. The FAA chief resigns over a DUI. And the weekend before I wrote this, federal agents in New York actually broke up a drug-smuggling ring orchestrated by baggage handlers at JFK.

But I’ve never been one to put too much faith in automatic progress and, rather, taken a hard-headed approach to the slings and arrows of the world. The most fundamental problems in life have to be managed and contained and can never be entirely eliminated. It also doesn’t mean that things will always get better. And some things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.

But then again, things are never so bad that they cannot contain a liberating element to them. However difficult a problem, there is always something constructive we can do. However bad things seem, there is always some good we can rally around and try our best to see if we can’t get it done.

So when I get together with friends, as I did last weekend over that traditional Yuletide feast of cheeseburgers, French fries and beer, it’s only natural in these times for all of us to throw down our own pity parties and attempt to one-up everyone else.

I wish I could lay claim to being the guy who says this, but it’s the sole woman at our Round Table who will always eventually say, “Yes, but other than that ... ” While not an automatic restorative, it does help you refocus, take stock and make some productive plans. It calls out to your leadership skills no matter if they’re currently buried under pessimism.

Take a look at this month’s cover story, for example, on JetStream Ground Services. Business certainly wasn’t “bad,” but the company definitely had reached a certain level of growth it couldn’t budge past. The owners hired some expertise in these matters that they themselves didn’t have.

A new COO, rather than keeping the numbers close to the vest, shares enough financial data with his general managers to keep them motivated to analyze and control what they can.

Technology provides essentially instantaneous knowledge rather than just a hunch about what’s going on out there on the ramp. An added compensation plan puts some skin in the game for everyone. And a training program for new recruits lets them know what’s expected of them from Day One.

So, but other than “that,” (take your pick), how are you doing? What’s going right? What are your plans for the year ahead? What do you think you want to take on? As always, your editor wants to know.