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The Robinson Report – Change

March 3rd, 1991.  Colorado Springs.  Preparing to land, a United Airlines 585 unexpectedly plunges to the ground after the crew (via cock pit recorder) witnessed the previous air bus struggled to achieve touchdown. 

All 25 onboard perished.

Citing metrological conditions and to a certain extent pilot error Boeing kept their 737 airborne.

Until three years on – after the crash of Pittsburgh-bound Delta 427 plummeted to Earth halfway through their uneventful flight.

Several pilots had noted on pervious flights that the 737 rudder (in its fourth re-design) had a tendency to reverse the cock pit commands under certain flight and environmental conditions.

The initial Boeing 737 was introduced in 1968 and quickly became a world-wide best seller. Nine different versions of the single aisle plane would follow.

It may well be the most studied plane in history.

Still, the mystery of the faulty rudder remained.

With Boeing’s Best still in denial and boasting about their ‘fix’, it took incoming freshman Boeing Engineer Ed Kitka – with a fresh set of eyes and a keen gut – to unwind the path to the flaw.

Structural stress allowed air to jam the hydraulics causing the rudder to move in the opposite direction.

The error was NOT the rudder itself.

Blind spots. We all have them.

Broadcast certainly is not rocket surgery.  Planes and people will not fall from the sky post-sour ratings period or deflated quarterly revenue.

However – parallels in design thought are similar.

We build what seems to be perfect architecture with polished, balanced presentation and smartly placed talent.

All seems ‘dress-right-dress’ while the brand inexplicitly crashes and burn.

A fresh set of eyes – identifying and removing our blind spot – often locates the issue.

Perhaps it is NOT the brand itself – but other influences.

Addressing these issues require change – and – change is hard.

Change means loss – sacrificing that in which YOU have deep emotional equity.

Getting a set of eyes – and ears – is your best start.

But the CHANGE? That begins with you.