“Back in the Day” bars had bouncers. If a patron “mouthed off,” interfered with business, got into a spat with a regular, or numerous other offenses, we threw them out, by force if necessary. “You had to be tough” in our business. Then somewhere around 2000 we realized we were spending a lot of our days off going to court!
It was then the ultimately wise operations leaders in our company developed a security policy which placed the highest priority on avoiding violence. Forget being “right.” Forget ego. If someone is running away, let them go. If there’s immediate violence, surround a perpetrator to diffuse – strength in numbers. Cameras everywhere. Up the security staff. Stop hiring big tough guys and hire savvy normal guys who can defend themselves, but also grew up having to talk their way out of situations now and then. We stopped having bouncers and started having hosts.
We asked the question: do we want to be “right,” possibly have staff get hurt in a fight, and spend our days off in court? Or do we want to put ego aside and do whatever we can to diffuse situations creatively and be done with it? Our leadership decided on the second option and it was one of the smartest things we ever did. Injuries and lawsuits plummeted for our group, and insurance rates stayed in line.
United Airlines, Republic Airlines (the actual carrier operating the plane within the United system) and even the O’Hare Airport Police are waking up today wishing they didn’t have to deal with the disaster of yesterday’s videotaped assault of a passenger to remove them from the plane. As we learned in our business, it doesn’t really help if you’re “right” when you still have to clean up a huge, expensive mess.
Perhaps if the authorities involved adopted a policy that before using any force (except in immediate physical threats) the Captain is notified, everyone stands down, and there is a meeting of the minds on how to otherwise solve a problem. On a plane, like a ship, the Captain is the ultimate authority and can make virtually any call. Captains should be trained to be creative and not enforce rules mindlessly to the detriment of all. I’m sure United wishes someone would have just offered more money for a volunteer until someone could not resist taking their invitation to get “bumped.” It would be a lot cheaper than what’s going to happen now!
Any threat of force in a business needs to be seriously and creatively evaluated before moving forward! It’s not about who is “right,” it is about what’s best in the situation, short term and long term. We think of business creativity as innovation on a conceptual level, but it’s needed in all parts of any enterprise in order to avoid disasters.
Ego and rigid rules are dangerous to a business! Smart and flexible is a road to success.
There are still a lot of “old school” bars out there. Anyone who needs help updating their customer service – that’s one of the services offered at A-List Marketing! Reach out anytime and let’s talk.