I recommend that all top management do their hiring interviews on flights that have to be diverted from their original destinations due to bad weather. Forget about top management team dynamics assessment studies with expensive consultants.
I was on one such plane some years ago, when the monsoons caused the plane from Delhi to Mumbai to get diverted to Ahmedabad, not once but twice. It was in business class, full of CIPs that are typical of this sector, that this tableau unfolded. (CIP is that charming word we see in the Kolkota airport lounge, reminding us that CIPs are not VIPs, they are merely commercially important people). CIP 1 kept haranguing the air hostess, once the captain announced his decision, about the next steps. How long would the wait be? What facilitation would be done? Would it be the same aircraft or a different one? She said she didn’t know. He kept asking the same questions, alternated by more harangue. “How come you don’t know?” “Why can’t you ask the captain?” “Exactly, what did the weather report say?”
CIP 2 wanted to know if he could get frequent flier mileage points for all the additional miles that we were clocking. In the M&A advisory business, I thought, or maybe with a management consulting firm. Never mind where you are going, where you set out to go, how much confusion there is in the middle — can we have clarity on whether I get paid for the extra time this is taking?
CIP 3 was a hindsight nagger. The poor air hostess was
asked: “How come you didn’t know the weather was bad when you took off?” “Shouldn’t you have discovered this closer to Delhi?” “Why did you get past the point of no return?” “Did ATC
(air traffic control) not inform you earlier?” I remember thinking that if I was married to this one, he would ask me on my child’s wedding day: “Didn’t you know that he/she would marry
someone unsuitable, and all those years you spent with the children while I was working hard and travelling, why didn’t you influence them better?”
CIP 4 was a foreign diplomat, a very senior one. He just watched all the noise and arguments for a while and then went quietly to the air hostess, turned on millions of watts of quiet charm and told her that she should persuade the captain to take the