I might have mentioned this before … I do not like flying. It’s a frequent and necessary part of my job but not one I take any pleasure in. With clients across the UK and some even further afield I sometimes feel that I now know many airport terminals better than I know our offices!
I have often pondered why it is that I don’t like flying. The vast majority of airline staff are courteous and friendly, most of my flights are on time and I get to travel to meet and work with some lovely people. Basically what it boils down to is my fellow passengers. I think many airlines treat their customers like cattle. That might sound harsh however I think most passengers deserve to be treated like cattle. Hmm…perhaps I should say I am writing this while on a flight back to Belfast! No, it isn’t anything specifically about this trip or this flight that has coloured my opinion. And no, I’m not in a bad mood! Quite the opposite in fact!
As someone who places a strong emphasis on understanding our customers’ business processes and stresses the importance of trying to ensure that whatever we implement is quick, easy to use and not over engineered I spend a lot of time listening and observing how people interact and how regular processes operate. Boarding a plane should not be difficult but it can be frustrating and take disproportionally too long to complete. In the UK planes are allowed to leave up to 15mins ahead of their scheduled take off. When was the last time you were on a plane that left 15mins early? Can’t remember? While the boarding and take off process allows for it, the process largely fails to deliver. BTW well done Aer Lingus – 10 mins early on leaving the stand today (frequently the most consistent at getting away on or ahead of time). So why does this fail most of the time for most airlines? Because of the passengers.
Whether it’s turning up late at the boarding gate or blocking the aisle while taking an age to put belongings into the overhead storage and therefore delaying everyone else getting on board (my personal bug bear) it’s passengers who cause most of the delays. Until we radically change how all passengers board planes we will continue to see delays (and the airlines unfairly get the blame!).
So do I have a point to make? Well, yes I did have when I started and before I got side tracked into my rant about air travel! We frequently quote an old saying in our office: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing day after day and expecting different results.” If you want to see different results, then you need to change how you do things. When we talk about grant management processes with our clients we are looking to deliver improvements and therefore they need to be open to changing the existing processes (hopefully for the better!).
Airlines will continue to have issues boarding passengers on planes until they change how they do this. Until the day comes when I am finally made global dictator (not holding my breath on that one) or I am hired by airlines to re-engineer how they board passengers I will continue to be an advocate for simple, effective and appropriate grant management processes. Never over-engineered and always focussed on delivering a positive experience for applicants and grant administrators alike.
Want to see improvement in your grant management processes? Be prepared to re-engineer and change. Otherwise it’s insanity.