People in Glass Houses

People in Glass Houses

There is way too much blaming and bashing of others and their organizations. We have shifted toward a society where it is easier to beat on people when they are down than help them get up. Whether it is the government (and I am guilty of this type of bashing), companies, or individuals, we are quick to blame and criticize. Unfortunately, this extends more and more to the folks within organizations. The “bullying” seems to be getting worse, not better.

Much of the “confidence” of bullies and bashers is displayed on social media where they can easily run and hide or have a following large enough that their wrongdoing is praised by others. Many of them are just as guilty as the perpetrators they bash and bully.

Here are a few examples of scenarios that got my attention. One was the Rogers outage on July 8, 2022. Yes, it was brutal, and for some, deadly with no access to 911. It created havoc in businesses and personal lives. Many things were affected that no one really thought about or expected. Yes, Rogers (and others, because it could have been any of the big telecoms) should have been better prepared. They should have anticipated some of the possible situations. But it happened. No one meant it to happen. No one caused it with intent. And yes, senior people lost their jobs as a result. But in life, unanticipated sh@t happens. Did they do their best to recover as quickly as possible? Yes. Did they get it back up and running? Yes. Did they compensate to some extent? Yes. So why do people have to yell at Rogers staff in stores? Why do they have to be abusive online and on social media? I just don’t get it—and I am concerned.

Then, take the summer Pearson fiasco. Does anyone seriously think the staff or leadership at Pearson International Airport wanted it to be labelled the worst airport in the world or have an “on time” rate of less than 25%? So, don’t take it out on the staff. The fact is that, like restaurants and government services “post pandemic,” airports were struggling with hiring issues and continue to do so. There was the fact of the “great resignation”—many people left the workforce between 2020 and 2022. Also, in years prior, Canada took in over 300,000 immigrants per year, and then for two years, basically none. That two-year typical influx of 600,000 immigrants means that about 400,000 people who would have been filling jobs never entered the country. We have a labor shortage. Furthermore, going from zero to 60 in a Lamborghini quickly might be easy, but getting Canada’s largest airport staffed and trained during a labor shortage in a mere six weeks is an unreasonable expectation. But we saw everyone jumping on to beat on GTAA! This was not one person or a board’s doing. A circumstance of the pandemic caused this “perfect storm,” not a decision by some executive to say, “Heck let’s not hire anybody. Let’s just wait it out and try and make margins with less staff!” What really appalled me was one highly respected industry professional who had an amazing career in the hospital foundation world. He claimed, “Heads must roll at Pearson and Air Canada This is a disgrace.” I flew almost 50 legs of flights from coast to coast from late March to early July. Everyone I saw at every airport, including Pearson, and on Air Canada flights, and on the ground was working as hard as they could to get people where they wanted/needed to go. I never saw anything that would justify “heads rolling.” I know that not everyone on every operating table for the healthcare foundations he worked for survived. Nor, during SARS, did medical heads roll when misdiagnosis was uncovered or slow reaction time revealed. They were dealing with a new reality. Let’s give people the support they need to be successful rather than tear them down from our ivory towers by throwing stones and thinking they live in glass houses.

There has been a great deal of human error over the past 2+ years. There also have been lots of errors that occurred because there was no playbook. I just hope that we can continue to move forward with these everchanging times and support people and organizations to get their feet back on the ground (or wings in the sky, as it may be) rather than tearing them down on social media.

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