Power to the underdog

Published: Feb 23 , 2015
Author: Rich Waldrop

Scotwork NA Vice President vs. major airline.  Guess who’s the underdog?

 Since relocating to the eastern shores of North Carolina in July, I’ve had four of 11 flights out of the nearby regional airport canceled or significantly delayed. I don’t know about you, but a 64% success rate doesn’t cut it for me.

Though I often felt like calling the airline and screaming about its awful performance, I had to figure out how to negotiate a solution. My first step was a power analysis, which didn’t make me feel any better, since this airline was the only carrier at the airport and I wasn’t a frequent flier. What leverage could I come up to to get the airline to improve services?

 Out came my Scotwork negotiation sheet, on which I listed my issues and intentions. These included

benchmarking the airline’s on-time performance data (through the U.S. Department of Transportation) so I could compare it to other airlines’ flights from similar-sized regional airports. I found that the closest other airport in the area had an 87% on-time record, a fact that I could later pull out if the airline ever challenged my assertion. Plus, I wanted this airport to post its on-time performance data—which became one of the key items on my wish list.

Another important step was to identify sanctions I could impose on the airline. First, as a negotiating skills instructor who each year teaches several hundred professionals—many of whom fly frequently—I could discourage them from choosing this airline. I could also report its poor on-time performance to the local chamber of commerce, which might even lead to a competitive airline being brought into the airport.

On the other hand, if the airline was willing to work with me, I could speak positively about the carrier to Scotwork NA course participants and to the regional chamber and even write a favorable article in the local media.

 How did I make out? My negotiation is still in progress, so stay tuned. I’ll post a follow-up blog with the outcome.

Learn more about how you can negotiate when the odds seem stacked against you. Join me as I lead Scotwork NA’s webinar, Negotiating as an Underdog, Friday, Feb. 27, 11:30-12 ET.

Register Here using the event number 662671449, click join.  You will be taken to a page where you can click register next to event status.  (NOW UNTIL 2/27, 11 A.M.)


 Rich Waldrop



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Rich Waldrop
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