Flight Attendant Wisdom

Mask_1 "When the oxygen masks come down, put your own mask on before attempting to help those around you."  The expectation is that in an environment either filled with smoke or lacking oxygen, your performance as a viable human will suffer. (you’ll likely pass out and die)

Meaning: You’re no good to anyone if you don’t have your own act together. Put the mask on first, and then help your fellow human.

Business owners can apply this same rule to their employee relations and customer service.

  1. Don’t expect your customers to provide referrals or word of mouth unless your employees and your products are exceeding expectations. Give them the pure oxygen of delight.
  2. Don’t expect your employees to provide delight to your customers unless their own needs are being met. Give the the pure oxygen of caring.
  3. Don’t expect yourself to care for your employees or your products if you’re not caring for yourself. Give yourself the pure oxygen of self-improvement. Read a book, take a walk, spend time with the people you care about.

Put on your mask. Breathe deeply. Now, help someone else find their own mask.

6 thoughts on “Flight Attendant Wisdom

  1. puru

    Great analogy, Dave
    A case pertinent to this analogy is that of Website developers. Designers promise to deliver the best of the best sites to their clients through their proposals.
    Ironically, for some of them, google cant even find their own websites and for others..it is even difficult to find their contact details on their websites.
    I think they too need to wear their own oxygen masks first before rushing to the market to sell them to others!

  2. Mary Schmidt

    Or, as I like to note, “Idiots have feelings too.” Before we leap into snarl mode with customer service reps and such – we need to remember they’re people too – and they may be working in a toxic environment, without support, tools or power.

    As to web designers and the need for oxygen – key is the difference between a web biz developer and a designer. It’s one thing to be creative – it’s another to understand the web from a business perspective (Granted, that’s a moving target, and yet, there are fundamentals that will always apply – such as some of the points noted above.) We try to keep our oxygen masks firmly in place here at Bare Feet – but sometimes it feels more like laughing gas, as we observe (and participate in)the absurdities of life and business. 😉 Lastly, you have to make sure you’re not breathing your own exhaust (believing your own press)

  3. Mark True

    This is such critical but often overlooked issue. When I counsel my clients, I’m always reminding them first to take care of their employees. They are the best “advertising” out there.

    If employees understand the brand and know how to use it to make dozens of decisions every single day, they are an asset of unequalled value.

    If employees are wearing your logo gear on the weekends, praising their bosses and their benefits package and referring their friends and neighbors to buy their products, the organization’s brand is in huge trouble.

    They also act as a great recruiting tool to identify other like-minded employees, reducing your hiring costs and cutting turnover.

    We should all keep Dave’s point in mind…daily.


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