Since the Saints are out of the playoff picture, this past weekend I switched my allegiances to my two local teams—the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins. Both were wild cards and both had a decent shot at advancing to the next stage of the playoffs. The Ravens did. The Washington Redskins….well they imploded. And as I sat in a local pub in disbelief with a few hundred other fans, I realized that there is something to be learned here that can apply to your travel business.
The Redskins started the season with great hopes for the year. They had top round draft pick for quarterback, a healthy team, and a league that looked manageable in terms of competition. Not unlike most of us who started out in the travel business.
The season went on and the Redskins ultimately achieved a winning season and were headed to the playoffs en route (they hoped) to the SuperBowl in New Orleans. Most of us measure our successes and plan for the future. Perhaps we are looking to open another location, bring on more employees or independent contractors, or to join one of the large franchised travel companies. We build our future success on our past successes.
Then the Washington Redskins and their vaunted rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III (RGIII) took the field against the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card game. The Skins came out of the gate with both barrels blazing and racked up two touchdowns in the first quarter. And then RGIII’s already damaged knee began to give him trouble. He was limping. He was grimacing in pain as he tried to run. Yet the powers that be allowed him to remain in the game. Ultimately, the competition pounced on this weakness; and late (too late) in the fourth quarter, RGIII’s knee gave out completely and he was removed from the game.
While most players hate Monday morning quarterbacks, I happen to love them; and will gladly take on the role today. The team knew going into the game that the knee of their star player was not 100%. Throughout the game, they saw that with each hit, it got worse and worse. Finally, it gave out and left Robert Griffin III down on the field with a potentially career-ending injury.
In your travel business, there are always times when you stumble and hurt yourself. Many times the solution is to get up, shake it off, and get back in the game. Other times, the problem is a little more severe than that. So you forgot to arrange a transfer—shake it off, send the client a bottle of wine and your profuse apologies. What if you forgot a transfer for a group of 300? You had better stop the game and take a long look at what went wrong and put some processes in place to insure it doesn’t happen again? What if you repeatedly make significant mistakes with clients’ itineraries? Well, there is your career-ending injury. Maybe it is just time to get out of the game.