great article by Dick Yarbrough/delta

 
Old Dec 8, 03, 1:52 pm
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great article by Dick Yarbrough/delta

Another great column by Dick Yarbrough.. I Don't know how to post it but the website is www.dickyarbrough.com
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Old Dec 9, 03, 1:54 pm
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Thanks for sharing this, vette!

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">DELTA’S NEW STRATEGY: ‘WARM AND FUZZY’ ALL OVER

This past October, Delta Air Lines CEO Leo Mullin proudly announced a new direction for his beleaguered airline, entitled “A Winning Strategy.” In an interview with the Atlanta media, Mullin was quoted as saying, “We have a winning organization. You (the employees) are going to have a future here.” Shortly after that comment, Mullin jumped ship with a $16 million pension for his six years and eight months on the job. Call me picky, but maybe he should have told us that “A Winning Strategy” included him being the big winner and leaving the employees to deal with the future.

I seem to recall a compensation plan put together by Delta’s board of directors this past March that gave Mullin and 32 other executives some $43 million of bonuses and bankruptcy-proof pensions to “keep the Delta management team together.” Good idea, except the leader of the Delta team has bailed out less than a year after the plan was implemented. And business nabobs wonder why we don’t trust them any farther than we can throw them and their big fat stock options?

Now comes the hocus-pocus. The new CEO, Gerald Grinstein, has the media hyperventilating over his “people skills” and breathlessly reporting his visits to Delta workrooms to cozy up to employees. Is this the same Gerald Grinstein who, as chairman of Delta’s board of directors, approved the untimely and obscene executive compensation package? If you haven’t been around public companies, let me give you a helpful clue: Executives can’t do squat without the approval of their board of directors. Therefore, the Delta board is Villain Number One in the debacle that has severely wounded the airline’s credibility and employee morale along with it. If the Delta employee body buys into Grinstein’s warm and fuzzy approach without demanding some straight answers to some tough questions, shame on them all. For example, Mr. Grinstein, why did you and the board approve that ungodly compensation plan? And, Mr. Grinstein, do you understand that you are the guy who helped get us in this mess?</font>
http://www.dickyarbrough.com/feature_column.htm

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Old Dec 9, 03, 9:56 pm
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Yet another in the long string of editorials written by bombastic, clueless talk radio hosts/syndicated columnists that haven't the faintest idea what the hell they're talking about.

So what else is new?
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Old Dec 9, 03, 10:41 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by N866DA:
Yet another in the long string of editorials written by bombastic, clueless talk radio hosts/syndicated columnists that haven't the faintest idea what the hell they're talking about.</font>
Looks to me like he knows exactly what he is talking about. In reading the above mentioned article, I do not see one item that is in error or can be questioned. Is the tone pointed? Yes Does he have the faintest idea what he is talking about? I don't beleive he could be closer to the truth

What exactly do you see in the article that is untrue?
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Old Dec 9, 03, 11:03 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by N866DA:
Yet another in the long string of editorials written by bombastic, clueless talk radio hosts/syndicated columnists that haven't the faintest idea what the hell they're talking about.

So what else is new?
</font>
Spoken like a true Delta company weenie.

I reread this article several times. Like the rest of Mr. Yarborough's articles on Delta, he hits the nail squarely on the head.

N866DA, when will you realize that we are on your side. We want Delta to be successful. It just ain't gonna happen until heads roll.

http://www.dickyarbrough.com/2003Archives/2003-0629.htm






DELTA’S EFFORTS AT A NEW IMAGE DON’T FLY WITH ME

Don’t look now, but somebody is getting ready to spray paint a cow patty. According to news reports, Delta Air Lines has hired a creative firm called BrightHouse to help improve its image. You remember Delta, don’t you? They are the folks who said they had to pay their executives $27 million in bonuses and offer them special pension protections so that the suits wouldn’t run off and work for somebody else. Personally, I thought Delta made a smart move. After all, with the economy booming like it is, what is to keep the senior vice president for nutritious airplane food from bolting the place for the chance to flip hamburgers at McDonald’s?

With the money safely stuffed in their mattresses, Delta executives have decided this would be a good time to turn warm and fuzzy on us, which is why they have brought in Brighthouse to work on their image. Joey Reiman, BrightHouse’s chairman is well known in the advertising business, but he says he isn’t going to just create ads for Delta. Evidently, ads are passé in today’s fast-paced world, except for car dealers who scream all the time and drug companies that interrupt the evening news to talk about body functions that can’t be mentioned in a family newspaper.

Instead, Reiman says the first thing he wants to do is to improve the relationship between the company and its 77,000 employees, which he says are Delta’s “best advertisement.” Good idea. Happy employees mean happy customers. There is just one teeny problem, however. The Delta employees I have heard from think the current management sucks. Admittedly, I haven’t heard from all 77,000, but I have a feeling that I have heard from enough to say they aren’t exactly the kind of ad that Delta wants to be running right now.

Reiman and his team said a lot of other stuff about “corporate messaging” and “discovering the vision” and “constructing a master idea” and the like. It all sounds good and is the kind of thing consultants are expected to say. But actions speak louder than words, and there are a bunch of people at Delta who have some pretty ugly words to say about their bosses’ actions right now.

While I am sure that the people who hired BrightHouse will be eager to get the bonus flap behind them and get busy discovering their vision – whatever that means – they should not assume that the folks down in the ranks will necessarily embrace the new party line. Unlike the well-paid people at the top of the business, the rank and file tend to tell it like it is – or like they perceive it to be. Delta’s executives have angered and embarrassed their workforce and employees have made their feelings widely known to their friends and neighbors. There isn’t enough advertising money available or enough creative gurus around to undo the damage that an employee can do to a company’s reputation and Delta’s has been hammered.

My humble suggestion to BrightHouse would be that they forget the vision stuff. All they need to do is tell the Delta executives to give back their undeserved, ill-gotten gains because the company is hemorrhaging money and to put their pensions at risk like everybody else. Tell them to apologize for their greed and lack of sensitivity to the rank-and-file employees. Tell them to admit they committed one of the all-time bonehead acts in the history of the world. Tell the VIPS to spend the next twelve months tagging bags, cleaning airplanes, hauling a few thousand tons of luggage on and off the planes and explaining to angry customers why their clothes are in Pittsburgh while they are in Denver. Tell them to do all of the things that their employees have to do daily while worrying about whether or not they are going to lose their jobs or their pensions. Do all of that, and the Delta despots might have an outside chance of regaining the respect of their 77,000 employees. Otherwise, BrightHouse, you are just gilding a cow patty.



[This message has been edited by mikey1003 (edited Dec 09, 2003).]
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Old Dec 10, 03, 3:24 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by mikey1003:
Spoken like a true Delta company weenie.

I reread this article several times. Like the rest of Mr. Yarborough's articles on Delta, he hits the nail squarely on the head.

N866DA, when will you realize that we are on your side. We want Delta to be successful. It just ain't gonna happen until heads roll.
</font>
For what it's worth, it's kind of sad that rather than try to have a reasoned discussion, the best you can do is call me a "company weenie" and tell me in a condescending manner that you know better than I do what's best for Delta.

I won't even dignify that with a response.

I would say to those who think Yarbrough is "right on" that his knowledge of the airline industry or recent Delta history clearly does not extent past what he sees when he scans the headlines.

Regardless of the merits of Leo Mullin's pension package, which we can argue over until we are blue in the face, he has been almost universally acknowledged as one of the best business tacticians in the airline industry during his tenure at Delta. This is the man who, among other things, led the company in 1999 to the largest single year profit posted by an airline, ever. Who is almost singlehandedly responsible for the company's current position as the IT leader in the airline industry. Who got Delta into the alliance game by forming an alliance, which despite the frequent (and sometimes deserved) criticisms by FTers, is now the #2 alliance in the world and the #1 alliance across the Atlantic. The list goes on, but it's getting late and I want to get to bed.

Yarbrough then uses some really weak logic to blame Jerry Grinstein for Delta being in "this mess," as he calls it. Yarbrough, astute as ever, says that Grinstein is trying to pull the wool over the collective eyes of Delta employees with the "warm and fuzzy" facade. And "shame on them all" if they "buy into it." His rhetoric is pretty funny! It's rare to see somebody say so little in so many words.

Apparently he didn't do his research, otherwise he would have found that Grinstein is actually a pretty principled guy, known for being labor-friendly, known for building consensus and securing tough-to-get labor concessions at Western, right when it was on the brink. In fact, it's thanks to Grinstein that Western got healthy enough to be an attractive merger target for Delta. In many more ways than he will ever get credit for, he has played a huge role in shaping the Delta that exists today.

But Dick Yarbrough wouldn't know about any of that.

Delta's problem is a cost problem, not a revenue problem. And specifically, Delta's problem in the area of costs is that Delta pilots are paid significantly more than their counterparts. I don't disagree that Mullin lost a lot of credibility with the pension issue. I think a big part of the reason he chose to leave was because he knew that he wasn't going to get anywhere with ALPA. I'm confident Jerry Grinstein will. And once that happens, things will start looking better.

[This message has been edited by N866DA (edited Dec 12, 2003).]
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Old Dec 10, 03, 3:43 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">I would say to those who think Yarborough is "right on" that his knowledge of the airline industry or recent Delta history clearly does not extent past what he sees when he scans the headlines. </font>


As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Leo Mullin, for all his business acumen, had approximately zero people skills. He thought nothing about playing workgroups against each other and lying through his teeth to get what he wanted. I've been saying that for over 3 years now while the Kool-Aid sipping Deltoids called me every name in the book as they defended the "Delta Family". On that front Yarbrough has it right, Leo was a cancer for labor relations and his departure will not be missed.

However, Yarbrough is selling Grinstein very short as far as his track record on labor relations goes. He is a proven fixer and is known as a fair man who keeps his word. The executive compensation package that Dick loves to attack was not a unique thing to Delta by any means - I know for a fact that similar programs existed at American, Continental, United and Northwest to name but four. It's very easy to use hindsight to say that Grinstein deceived the employees by agreeing to it, but at the time the package was initiated it was the industry norm.

Delta's future success or failure will depend on one thing and one thing alone - how much in cost savings Grinstein can squeeze out of DALPA. After Fred Reid's involvement in the Comair debacle, there was no way that DALPA would play ball with him. The board was lucky to have an experienced leader like Grinstein on hand to step up to the plate, especially since DALPA is willing to actually sit down and talk to him - a basic step that Leo had been unable to achieve for the last six months.

Give Grinstein time. If DALPA is still dragging things out in June next year, I'll write him off and write the airline off as dead. If he gets a decent concessions package from the pilots before that though, his tenure at Delta, no matter how brief it may actually be, will be judged as a huge success.

[This message has been edited by B747-437B (edited Dec 10, 2003).]
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Old Dec 10, 03, 10:08 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by mikey1003:
Spoken like a true Delta company weenie.
</font>
The unmoderated name-calling attack on N866DA is absolutely uncalled for and yet another shameful and glaring example of the moderator bias on this board.

Glen used a good term a while back as he described the qualities the moderators seek to enforce: “collegial”. Mikey’s post is anything but collegial.

Shame on the moderators.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by B747-437B:

As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. ....Give Grinstein time. If DALPA is still dragging things out in June next year, I'll write him off and write the airline off as dead. If he gets a decent concessions package from the pilots before that though, his tenure at Delta, no matter how brief it may actually be, will be judged as a huge success.
</font>
Thanks B747-437B, for a post with an opinion that deserves consideration. Not everyone will agree, but we are all here to discuss and learn.
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Old Dec 10, 03, 10:21 am
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Most people on this board have demanded -- in no uncertain terms -- very light moderation. When we moderators became overly exuberant a while back, we were taken to task and told to lighten up by many, many people, both publicly (here on FT) and privately. So we did.

Mikey1003 called N866DA a "company weenie." That's very, very mild name-calling, if it even rises to that level at all. Who knows, N866DA may consider that a compliment! Maybe it's just my opinion, but I can't see what mikey1003 did to be a violation of FT's rules.

However, in a desire to be even-handed, I will ask mikey1003 to please refrain from name-calling, even mild name-calling.

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Old Dec 10, 03, 10:22 am
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weenie

n : a smooth-textured sausage of minced beef or pork usually smoked; often served on a bread roll [syn: frank, frankfurter, hotdog, wiener, wienerwurst]


Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University


Shame on you mikey, you are a bad, bad man calling somebody a hot dog. I propose thirty lashes with a wet noodle.
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Old Dec 10, 03, 10:32 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by OttoGraham:
weenie

Shame on you mikey, you are a bad, bad man calling somebody a hot dog. I propose thirty lashes with a wet noodle.
</font>
Otto, surely you can get your point across without resorting to calling Mikey a "bad, bad man." It's been proven that he's, at most, a bad man.

BTW, I too can speak like a Delta company weenie. It doesn't sound as good as my Donald Duck voice, but I am working on it.
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Old Dec 10, 03, 10:45 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by B747-437B:

As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle... </font>
That's a common fallacy. The truth does not always lie somewhere in the middle. Someone believing that 2+2=5 does not change the answer to 4.5!

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Old Dec 10, 03, 3:58 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by N866DA:
For what it's worth, it's kind of sad that rather than try to have a reasoned discussion, the best you can do is call me a "company weenie" and tell me in a condescending manner that you know better than I do what's best for Delta.
.
</font>
Didn't mean to get your flaps in a bunch, but that is a common expression around my company and I typed it. So if my terminology bothered you, I'm sorry.

The rest of what I said stands.
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Old Dec 11, 03, 12:17 am
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But the 777 configuration is indeed 2+5=2 if you look at the seat maps...
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Old Dec 11, 03, 12:37 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by B747-437B:
I would say to those who think Yarborough is "right on" that his knowledge of the airline industry or recent Delta history clearly does not extent past what he sees when he scans the headlines. </font>


As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Leo Mullin, for all his business acumen, had approximately zero people skills. He thought nothing about playing workgroups against each other and lying through his teeth to get what he wanted. I've been saying that for over 3 years now while the Kool-Aid sipping Deltoids called me every name in the book as they defended the "Delta Family". On that front Yarbrough has it right, Leo was a cancer for labor relations and his departure will not be missed.

However, Yarbrough is selling Grinstein very short as far as his track record on labor relations goes. He is a proven fixer and is known as a fair man who keeps his word. The executive compensation package that Dick loves to attack was not a unique thing to Delta by any means - I know for a fact that similar programs existed at American, Continental, United and Northwest to name but four. It's very easy to use hindsight to say that Grinstein deceived the employees by agreeing to it, but at the time the package was initiated it was the industry norm.

Delta's future success or failure will depend on one thing and one thing alone - how much in cost savings Grinstein can squeeze out of DALPA. After Fred Reid's involvement in the Comair debacle, there was no way that DALPA would play ball with him. The board was lucky to have an experienced leader like Grinstein on hand to step up to the plate, especially since DALPA is willing to actually sit down and talk to him - a basic step that Leo had been unable to achieve for the last six months.

Give Grinstein time. If DALPA is still dragging things out in June next year, I'll write him off and write the airline off as dead. If he gets a decent concessions package from the pilots before that though, his tenure at Delta, no matter how brief it may actually be, will be judged as a huge success.

[This message has been edited by B747-437B (edited Dec 10, 2003).]
Thanks, Seån for a well thought-out and very thought-provoking post. Much appreciated and very enlightening.
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