A textbook case on how to deal with a mistake.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times, when your company screws up, suck it up and deal.

Last week someone performed a career-limiting slip of the finger, allowing people to purchase United Airlines tickets online for less than it costs to get a Jumbo Slurpee. And in the online equivalent of Wal Mart on Black Friday, bargain hunters snapped up those tickets, sometimes 10-12 tickets a person.  Two hours later United Airlines realized someone goofed.  Large.  Oh, what’s a multi-billion dollar company do to?  Well, they did the right thing; they responded quickly and, to the surprise of many, honored those tickets.

Way to go United Airlines!

In our post Weathering a Crisis we outlined the steps to dealing with unexpected events:

  • Have a contingency budget to get out of the crisis (maybe United used their PR budget to fund this mistake)
  • Establish a “war room” process by getting smart people in a room to define the issue
  • Address the situation quickly and be humble
  • Turn the challenge into an opportunity

No worries, United Airlines, we’re happy to have helped.

And in a time when the quality of TV shows is outshining movies, why aren’t the Emmys generating the same excitement as the Oscars?  Come back next week for our lessons from the Emmys.