United Airlines acaba de hacer un pequeño cambio. Y los resultados son realmente fascinantes

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United Airlines anunció un pequeño cambio la semana pasada. Es un cambio tan pequeño que la mayoría de los pasajeros de United Airlines probablemente ni siquiera lo notarán.

¿Por qué estamos hablando de eso? Porque el mero hecho de que sea un pequeño cambio no significa que no importe. Si dirige un negocio de cualquier tamaño y en cualquier industria, prestaría mucha atención a lo que United Airlines está haciendo en este momento.

Si puede hacer esto abiertamente, el proceso de pensamiento detrás del pequeño cambio de United podría generar algunas ideas inteligentes para mejorar sus propias operaciones.

Examinemos la decisión de United y luego analicemos las solicitudes de otros líderes de la empresa. Realmente solo tomará unos segundos.

En resumen: no más selecciones de cócteles con United Airlines.

Lo admito, tuve que pensar en lo que era cuando leí el informe por primera vez. Básicamente,
Si vuela con United Airlines en 2021 y pide una bebida con un trozo de limón o lima, habrá un pequeño cambio.

Su asistente de vuelo de United Airlines sirve la bebida con la cuña, pero sin una de esas pequeñas lanzas de plástico o madera clavadas en el medio.

No puedo decirte cuánto gasta United Airlines en palitos de cóctel, pero una búsqueda rápida en Amazon me muestra que puedes comprar un paquete de 200, o alrededor de $ 8.

Y de acuerdo con un memorando interno recibido del sitio web de la aerolínea, Vive y deja volarUnited Airlines espera que este cambio ahorre $ 80,000 al año.

Ahora, en particular, no estoy involucrado en el resultado de United Airlines. No me gustan ni detesto los palitos de cóctel. Con toda honestidad, dada la pandemia, ni siquiera vuelo tanto.

Pero ese tipo de decisión comercial extraña es el Anexo A, por lo que creo que las personas que dirigen otros negocios deben tener en cuenta el negocio de la industria de la aviación.

La mayoría de las decisiones de la industria se explican en detalle, ya que todos los grandes actores cotizan en bolsa. Y sus empleados a veces comparten información interna sobre la toma de decisiones como si fuera un deporte.

Es como una serie continua de lecciones gratuitas de gestión empresarial, qué hacer y qué no hacer, todas llevadas a cabo públicamente por los actores de una enorme industria basada en productos básicos, muy cubierta, fácil de entender y con grandes desafíos.

¿Quién podría pedir más? Así que pensemos en los palitos de cóctel.

Primero, debemos tener en cuenta que en el pasado, las aerolíneas, y United Airlines en particular, incluso bajo la guía anterior, han encontrado formas realmente creativas de tomar atajos y ahorrar dinero.

Por ejemplo, United Airlines una vez redujo la cantidad de tarjetas en sus cargadores a bordo, lo que significó ahorrar combustible ya que cada día se elevaban al cielo cuatro toneladas menos de carga.

Independientemente, pregonó el hecho de que ya no llevaba botellas libres de impuestos en vuelos internacionales (casi nadie las compró de todos modos) y dejó de incluir pantallas de video para el respaldo del asiento.

Menos peso, menores costos de combustible. Además, casi todos los pasajeros del planeta ahora tienen su propia pantalla de video en todas partes.

Lo más legendario de todo es que United Airlines redujo una vez la cantidad de aceitunas que se encuentran en ensaladas premium para ahorrar $ 40,000 al año.

Por supuesto, podría echar un vistazo a esta decisión de cóctel y tener en cuenta que ahorrar $ 80,000 en un año en el que su aerolínea está perdiendo millones de dólares todos los días durante una pandemia no es esencial.

Pero hay otras dos formas de verlo.

La primera es una especie de «$ 80,000 aquí, $ 80,000 allá; luego, estás hablando de dinero real».

Dígame, ¿de qué valdría en su empresa crear una cultura en la que los empleados encontraran formas creativas de ahorrar dinero que no afectaran a sus clientes?

¿Podría sumarse con el tiempo?

El segundo punto es simbólico, porque los símbolos a veces son tan importantes como el resultado real.

Esto puede ser especialmente importante si su empresa atraviesa tiempos difíciles como resultado de la pandemia y los empleados quieren tener la seguridad de que sus trabajos continuarán.

Por supuesto, no puedo decirle si esto se aplica a su empresa. Tal vez a su industria le esté yendo bien, o ya ha ido al grano.

Pero si no es así, la próxima vez que vea un avión en el cielo, se preguntará:

¿Qué son los palitos de cóctel en tu tienda? ¿Y hay alguna forma de deshacerse de ellos rápidamente, ahorrar dinero y hacerlo sin que nadie se vea afectado?

Las opiniones expresadas por los columnistas de Inc.com aquí son las suyas, no las de Inc.com.

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I admit, I had to think through what these even were, when I first read the report. Basically, 
if you fly on United Airlines during 2021, and you order a drink with a wedge of lemon or lime, there will be a small change.

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Your United Airlines flight attendant will serve the drink with the wedge -- but without one of those little plastic or wooden spears stuck through the middle of it.

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I can't tell you what United Airlines spends on cocktail sticks, but a quick search of Amazon tells me you can buy a pack of 200 or for about $8.

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And, according to an internal memo obtained by the airline site, Live and Let Fly, United Airlines says it expects to save $80,000 per year as a result of this change.

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Now, I have zero stake in the outcome of United Airlines particularly. I don't like or loathe cocktail sticks. Frankly, I don't even fly all that much, given the pandemic.

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But this kind of weird business decision is Exhibit A for why I think people who run other businesses should pay attention to the operations of the airline industry. 

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Most industry decisions are explained in detail, given that all the big players are publicly traded. And, their employees sometimes share internal information on decision-making as if it were a sport. 

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It's like an ongoing series of free business leadership lessons -- what to do, and what not to do -- all performed in public, by the players in an enormous, heavily covered, easily understood, highly challenged, commodity based industry.

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Who could ask for more? So, let's think through the cocktail sticks.

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First, we should note that the airlines -- and heck, United Airlines in particular, even under previous leadership -- has a history of finding really creative ways to cut corners and save money.

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For example, United Airlines once reduced the card stock in its in-flight magazines, which meant saving money on fuel, since it meant lifting four fewer tons of cargo into the sky every day. 

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Separately, it trumpeted the fact that it was no longer carrying duty-free bottles onboard international flights (almost nobody was buying them anyway), and stopped including seat back video screens.

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Less weight, lower fuel costs. Besides, almost every passenger on the planet now carries his or her own video screen everywhere they go.

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Most legendarily, United Airlines once reduced by one the number of olives it included on first class salads, in order to save $40,000 a year.

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You get the point.  

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Granted, you could look at this cocktail stick decision and remark, quite legitimately, that saving $80,000 during a year when your airline is losing millions of dollars a day during a pandemic isn't significant.

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But there are also two other ways to look at it. 

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The first is a kind of "$80,000 here, $80,000 there; next thing you know, you're talking about real money" attitude.

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You tell me: What would it be worth in your business to create a culture in which employees came up with creative ways to save money that won't affect your customers? 

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Could it add up over time? 

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The second point is symbolic -- because sometimes symbols are as important as the actual result.

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And that could be especially important if your business is facing challenging times as a result of the pandemic, and employees want reassurance that their jobs will still be around.

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I can't tell you if this applies to your business, of course. Maybe things are going great in your industry, or else perhaps you've already cut clear to the bone.

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But if that's not the case, maybe the next time you see an airplane in the sky, ask yourself:

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What are the cocktail sticks in your business? And is there a way to get rid of them quickly, save money, and do it without anyone even being affected? 

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