Author – Garrett Hill
Are you as squeamish as I am when it comes to the TSA forcing all of us to go barefoot through airport security checkpoints? Thanks to that British guy Richard Reid, the one who unsuccessfully tried to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes in 2001 on a flight from Paris to Miami, most of us are now forced to expose our tootsies to all sorts of microbes and unpleasantness in the airport security line… all in the name of safety.
But are we really ensuring our safety by removing our shoes? Ironically, the fact that Richard Reid did not have to remove his shoes pre-flight might be why his “shoes” failed to detonate – in fact, his sweaty feet may have saved hundreds of lives. According to Wikpedia, “the explosive apparently did not detonate due to the delay in the take-off of Reid’s flight. The rainy weather, perhaps along with Reid’s foot perspiration, caused the fuse to be too damp to ignite.” A fortuitous “ew”!
So my question is: When it comes to taking off our shoes, are we just sticking to a decade-old policy that doesn’t really ensure anything except a false peace of mind? And how does this apply to my business, to business continuity and satellite communications solutions?
Max Weber’s bureaucratic management theory of the 1930s-50s focused on standardized procedures and a clear chain of command. Very structured. But I believe being too inflexible can stifle embracing necessary change. It probably doesn’t constitute as management theory, but there is truth in that oft-quoted stricture of Albert Einstein’s: “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
In business, I think we need to step back away from the details of our day-to-day grind on a regular basis and look at our policies and processes and ask ourselves: What was the lesson learned that led to this policy? Does it still apply? Have we continued to evolve our policies to represent, in our case, the most current technology?
There are always those legacy things that stick around at every company, sometimes for no reason other than “We’ve always done it this way.”
A friend shared his copy of In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Jr. Waterman, considered by some to be one of the best business books of all time. I’m not sure about that, but it does offer some great insight based on a study of 43 of America’s best-run companies and describes eight success principles. My favorites are the first principle – having a bias for action and a preference for doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING, rather than sending a question through cycles and cycles of analyses and committee reports, and the third principle – which focuses on autonomy and entrepreneurship, breaking the company into small “companies” and encouraging them to think independently and competitively.
We try to do these things here at X2nSat, and encourage our clients to do the same. Because, of course, that leads them to choosing us. Because we’re the present, and we’re also the future.
Satellite isn’t new, but it’s being newly embraced as a technology that can fix the “old” problem of business continuity. Businesses and business continuity managers have traditionally installed a second terrestrial line, such as a T1 line or Internet link, so that they had a backup solution when the main line went down. But the lesson they have so painfully learned is that those second lines are a false sense of security, kind of like taking off your shoes at the airport. Because often what takes down the first line, takes down the second line, too. It’s an old way of thinking. What they should be doing is using satellite as their backup. Because when there’s a natural disaster that knocks out the T1, it won’t knock us out. And the word about this is getting out, as the growth and success of X2nSat can attest.
As for barefootin’ it through the TSA lines … there may be hope for the future. The TSA is “investigating floor-mounted explosives detectors that passengers could walk on completely shod,” according to Popular Mechanics. Now if only there could be nausea-preventing regulations in place to ensure fellow passengers utilized Odor-Eaters. I’d be a happy man.