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The incident, the mistake, the lesson #2

The Incident:

We have another Fortune 1 client that comes into the DC area very often.  Their requests are very specific as to the type, color and make of vehicle that their C-Suite executives will ride in.  The other thing is that they are very particular about who is in their space.  The security levels of the C-Suite executives are very high even to the point that we get the request for service 2 days before the inbound executive and their flight itineraries until 12 hours prior to their arrival.

On one occasion the regular specialist who handles the executives was on another detail so I had to stroke their egos in letting another specialist work the executive.  Approximately 15 hours prior to the arrival I received the itinerary and forwarded it to the assigned specialist.  It should be noted that that schedule we receive is not the actual itinerary but a typed version from an executive assistant that includes other things, including meetings, times, and who he/she will be meeting.

The specialist confirmed receiving the schedule and met me to get the vehicle.  On that next day [Saturday] he arrived at the airport 45 minutes early and sent me a text to confirm he was on station.  Approximately 15 minutes after the designated arrival time I received a call on my cell phone from the specialist who stated that he had just got off the phone with the principal, who was at another airport.  The specialist was upset because the principal stated that he/she was taking a cab to the hotel.  I got the specialist under control and told him, “To get back in the fight.”  I instructed him to head to the hotel and meet the principal before he arrived, and fall on the sword.  I then immediately called the POC [point of contact] at the client base and informed him what happened.  His reply, “It happens.”  That was a relief but not good enough.  Missing a movement, departure, arrival or otherwise cuts to the core of dependability.

When the principal arrived at the hotel, the specialist apologized and the principal made joke of the situation.  The 4 days went on without a hitch.  Rather, without another hitch.

The Mistake:

We have dealt with this client for years and the regular specialist that is normally assigned is used to the way the principal’s schedule is formatted by his/her executive assistant.  I dropped the ball because I did not go over it line by line with the new assigned specialist.  That would have alleviated the mis-step.

The Lesson:

Responsibility starts from the TOP and that means ME!  The new assigned specialist is extremely capable of working any detail as a specialist, lead advance specialist and has been a detail leader for me on several details.  No matter how good anyone is, a mistake can be made.  The old saying, “2 heads are better than 1” is correct but I realize that everything that happens in my company falls back on me and nothing can be taken for granted.  The principal fell in love with the new specialist after a day being with him so we recovered and they asked specifically for him the next time they come back into the United States.

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