american airlines photo Photo by snowpeak [CC]

From The Incompetence of American Airlines & The Fate of Mr X.

When I first learned about this, I was horrified. Mr. X is actually a good UX designer, and his email had me thinking there was hope for American Airlines. The guy clearly cared about his work and about the user experience at the company as a whole. But AA fired Mr. X because he cared. They fired him because he cared enough to reach out to a dissatisfied customer and help clear the company’s name in the best way he could. [They fired him on the grounds he broke his non-disclosure agreement by discussing his work with an external professional who cared enough about AA to present a thought-through UX alternative.]

This is so wrong on so many ways.

Innovation and excellence happens in may businesses in spite of the business and its culture; except in the very rare cases where a business is set up to enable innovation and excellence in the first place.

It is the individuals who care enough to go the extra mile who brings the light to these otherwise soulless and dull entities. Unavoidably soulless and dull because they are designed by committee, rooted in fear, and afraid to be human.

AA clearly is another company dedicated to unthinkingly following its processes and procedures. As I wrote in this post only recently: Processes make corporations stupid! Voila!

The AA experience has become a bloated policy-driven ordeal that marginalizes the customer's experience by focusing on seemingly arbitrary rules and the complexity of their ticketing system. The flying experience is similar to the online experience; it feels broken and dated.

And this cluelessness seem to engender a whole slew of bizarre initiatives ( to target black people!!! OMG!!!). Read the full post by Dustin Curtis here.

If AA had any balls they’d re-hire Mr X and give him a promotion. I am not holding my breath. Leadership fail.