“Too Low Terrain” – the seismic shift facing Boeing Commercial Aircraft (part 3 of 3)

“Too Low Terrain” – the seismic shift facing Boeing Commercial Aircraft (part 3 of 3)

The Alaska Airlines door plug blowout in January 2024 focused minds.

Once again, production and assembly quality control issues came to the fore, and the whistle-blowers voices were heard.

The short-termism focus on stockholder returns was again called out, as the stock price tanked from a high of $428 (2019) to around $180 today.

The airline customers essentially called for the replacement of the CEO and other executives.

But the remedy can’t be a “Band Aid” solution.

What is startlingly obvious is that a cultural change is needed and fast……but cultural change just doesn’t happen “fast”; it takes time and lots of it.

So, there needs to be a real sense of urgency.

Even then the essential change is measured over years, not months, and the clock’s ticking.

We’ve previously written before about the relative outperformance of organisations that have “strong, agile-adaptive cultures, that focus on stakeholders”.

In every airline manufacturer’s case, the ultimate stakeholder and customer is the passenger.

“Safety IS no accident” and it starts with culture.

This is a seminal “last chance saloon” moment for Boeing Commercial Aircraft.

What is needed are trusted exemplary “insider” leaders with outward perspective to lead the change – because they have the trust networks both internally and externally to do so.

They must exhibit the leadership to bring together diverse stakeholders from throughout the organisation and customer base to redefine a shared vision of where the division needs to be headed, and they need to do that urgently.

They need to form a trusted guiding coalition and a large and diverse group of engaged stakeholders to work collectively to realise that strategic vision, and then ensure that all obstacles to that change are removed.

The resultant changes need to be measured and celebrated when successful, and the leadership team needs to ensure that the cultural change sticks – systemically, structurally and culturally.

Because the ultimate stakeholder and customer – the child in seat 26A, demands and expects it.

Only by doing so, can the short and long-term aspirations of other stakeholders (of which shareholders are but one group) be achieved.

Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI
Kotter Change Leader Certified
Principal Consultant – The Sixsess Consultancy
Empowering Clients to Seize Opportunity from Change
(Barry flew globally as a pilot and captain of airline passenger jets for 25 years during his 48 year flying career).

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Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI

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