Recently, I was on a trip with the Focus One students called focal point. It's a week that we designed in the middle of the school year that is free of electronic distraction and full of intentional relationships and evaluation.

Well, the day I was supposed to fly back home (for Valentine's Day) there was a snow storm that hit the east coast which caused thousands of flights to be cancelled. In the middle of the chaos, US Airways simply shut down.

I mean... shut down. Website down. Mobile app down. Phones were either a busy signal or a message saying to call back later.

This storm threw the airline back into the dark ages...for days. My main consolation and comic relief was looking at their twitter feed and seeing thousands of disgruntled people around the nation colorfully express the fact that they were in the same situation as me.

This "opportunity" gave me many hours to process and glean from the experience. Here are some lessons I learned.

  • Expect the best, but plan for the worst.
    • This was not the first time storms have happened since the inception of commuter flight. Plan for them. Train for them. Expect them. Don't be surprised by the inevitable.
  • The time to prepare is before the crisis.
    • The moment expected crisis arise, the moment for planning ends. This is the time to execute the plan.
  • Crisis are great opportunities to turn people into raving fans.
    • When people's stress levels are high and expectations are low is the time to bring your A game. Few times will give you a better occassion to turn someone into a lifelong customer than during problematic situations. Show them you're smart. Show them their value. Win them for life.
  • Your core values can shine the brightest when times are the darkest. Make every effort to ensure they do.
    • These are the times when you find out if your mission statement is just writing on the walls.