What Did Brown Do To You?

Here’s an entry from Mike Neiss, long-time Tom Peters Company consultant, who has posted here before:

Having had the great opportunity to spend my formative business years at United Parcel Service, I was more than a little interested in the Citigroup “lost package” story. UPS has built a spectacular high-performance culture, with a workforce that strives to out-work the competition. So, my initial emotion was one of empathy for the UPS employees directly involved in this incident. I know they lost some sleep over this big service failure. But then I thought about what my emotion might be if I were one of the 3.9 million whose financial security was breached. With the technology used these days to track packages, a loss such as this is unacceptable. I would be angry.

One exercise I use in my consulting work is to draw a small black circle in the middle of a large sheet of white paper. I ask people to tell me what they see. They always see the black circle, the blemish, instead of the larger white space. This is a black circle for UPS. By 9:00 a.m. on the morning following the incident, a Google search turned up 360 news stories from around the world documenting this incident. Through 100 years of business, UPS has built considerable white space. My question to you all is simple. Will this service breach influence your choice of shippers? What are your thoughts on how this affected the UPS brand? Have they laid a foundation of enough white space to be forgiven for this blemish?

Mike Neiss posted this on June 9, 2005, in News.
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