Two Dozen Basic Management Principles (Pt. 6)

The flight to America was quite a learning experience. First, he got on a airplane that was large enough to hold his entire village – a 747. The plane had two aisles and four seats in the middle section.

Second, he learned about airplane food. When the airline attendant asked him if he wanted any food, Lopez responded, “No, thank you.” After landing in Cairo, the plane took off again. Again an airline attendant asked him if he wanted any food. Lopez responded, “No, thank you.”  After landing in Beijing, the plane took off again. Lopez was wondering if he was ever going to get to America. Again an airline attendant asked him if he wanted any food. Lopez responded, “No, thank you.”  This flight attendant chose to press Lopez. “Please, take the food.” But how could he? How would he pay for it? “I have no money,” Lopez said in his best English. The flight attendant smiled. “Free,” she said. “Free?” That was one English word Lopez knew. He promptly ate two whole meals and part of a third.

After deplaning from the 747, he was led to a terminal to await the flight to Syracuse, New York. This is where he learned a third lesson – not every American was white. Lopez was thrilled. The melting pot that is America – Americans from Puerto Rico, Africa, Latin America, Asia, etc. — was a pleasant surprise.

Management Lesson #9 – Don’t Be Narrow-Minded

The plane finally landed in Syracuse. Lopez waited until everyone got off and he followed the crowd. The jetway led to the airport gate area. He paused for a moment looking for one of the workers like those who helped him in New York.

That’s when he saw it. Right in front of the gate area was a white man and woman. Both wore huge grins. The woman held up a sign with words of English Lopez could understand. There were only three words on it but they were the best words Lopez had ever read – “Welcome Home, Joseph.” Ten years after the rebel soldiers had ripped him out of his mother’s arms, Lopez finally had a place to call home.

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