Have you ever thought about the status quo? When is it perfect to keep. And when should we let it be Gone with the Wind?

Sitting in the airplane, we still honor the pilot. He's the "Captain" of the vessel after all. We soar through the air on his safety and skill. As we sit in the lap of the magic of flight, staring out on the prettiest views in the world, stewards bring us drinks, peanuts, and the occasional smile.

We know the pilot's in charge. And his pay is much greater for this greater responsibility.

But isn't that no longer true? His skills' rarely required these days. The planes practically fly themselves. Like a glorified truck driver, he adds nothing of value to my trip. The skill and safety he represents no longer differentiate one airline from the other. Getting me there safely is a mere baseline, required to get your airline off the ground.

When I shop for a ticket I'm thinking three things. Price, boarding process, and friendliness of the stewards. The pilot is irrelevant! I rarely even see them anymore. These planes could be flying on remote control for all I know. 

For airlines who really want to differentiate, they might realize it's really the steward they need. It's the stewards affecting my purchase. When their generous with their smiles and quick with the coffee, I notice! And it makes me want to come back. And even when safety might be a concern, it's the steward who confronts a shoe bomb crises, or keeps the mom with 3 crying kids from going berzerk!

Thus far, I don't see any one airline standing out. I've certainly ben on many excellent flights with excellent crews, and have endured less than exciting stewards who grumble as they fill your water. But the excellence is scattered across the airlines. Pockets of incredible effort in a sea of mediocrity.

Perhaps airlines will notice, improving their service, insuring my purchase, and instantly standing up above the rest.

The flip is always out there. Pilots have less value today. Stewards are invaluable. When will they flip? Only time will tell. But flip it eventually will.

And these flips are out there all over the world, just waiting to be leveraged, just waiting to be won. And it's people like you, who are smart and work hard who will be quickest to find them.

  1. Look first for the status quo - find those assumptions we all take for granted. They hide themselves plainly, almost completely camoflaged from the crowd, and usually resting right under our nose.
  2. Re-evaluate the status quo - is it fair and deserved, or resting on its laurels. When you find a status quo where one group gets more Stuff without a good reason, you've found something worth changing
  3. Is there any way to flip it to your advantage
    1. Clearly outline the flip - what needs to change and how could it be implemented
    2. Who are the decision makers
      1. Can you divert their power, perhaps with new technology or a new business
      2. Or, can you work with them or for them as a consultant or partner?
    3. Who would benefit from the flip - can you make them an ally?
    4. How can you position yourself to reap some reward when the flip you're creating aids your allies, their business and their customers?

And will you be there on the bleeding edge when it does. For when the whole thing flips, it's those on the edge who suddenly find themselves flipped into a new world, where competition is almost non-existent. The rest find themselves buried as the flips tend to land hardest right in the middle of the herd. Those clinging to safety, avoiding the edge are quickly left behind.

Whether it's yours or your neighors', the flip is out there. Pilots have very little value to consumers anymore. The Stewards are where the jackpot lies. Someday maybe they'll figure it out.

But for you, when you find it, your very own flip. This is a moment to sit and enjoy, for the first on the scene as the flip is being made is likely enjoy growth in a clear wide blue sky.