Recently I had the misfortune to be caught up in the turmoil caused by the Palea wildcat strike at Philippine Airlines.  As a ninangfor a wedding in Cebu I was scheduled to leave the day before the wedding and to return the afternoon after the wedding.   As fate would have it, the Palea strike occurred the morning of the day that I was scheduled to leave for Cebu.  After much difficulty we managed to secure a booking for the next morning but our ordeal was far from over.  The 9 am flight turned into a 9 hour door to door journey.  We could have traveled to Australia in the time it took us to reach Cebu.  I literally ran into the church 2 hours late for the wedding.

It was an extremely happy wedding and the horror of the 9 hour door to door journey faded, untilI returned to the hotel and found out by chance that PAL had cancelled our afternoon flight back to Manila.  Again after much difficulty, we managed to secure a new reservation for the morning flight.  And again the return trip took 9 hours door to door.

Needless to say I was not a happy customer.  Infact I was an extremely unhappy customer.  But my anger was not directed at PAL management, it was directed at the striking PALEA members.

First of all I could not understand the thinking of the PALEA Union.  What was the strategy of the union?  What was the end game they wished to achieve?  Why on earth would you go on strike a few days before the termination of their services?  If, it was to show PAL management how important they were to the organization , why didn’t they go on strike a year earlier?  It was clear to me that the union leaders were leading with raw emotions and blind anger and not with any strategic intent.
This led me to think about strategy and execution.  And as I have always said,” strategy is execution, execution, execution.”  In this case, the union executed themselves!

In all aspects of business, in sales, in marketing, in human resources etc., you will always reach impasses and experience crises.  BUT if you react to these impasses and crises with your emotions, particularly anger and vengeance, instead of rational thinking, you will not make the right decisions.

The union should have developed a strategic business plan as soon as they realized the intention of PAL management to outsource their jobs.

First and foremost, what was the overall objective of the union?  If the union was savvy enough they should have read the worldwide signs that outsourcing was inevitable.  In this was the case, what was their overall objective?  Delay of outsourcing for an indefinite period of time?  Better severance packages?  Skills retraining for those retrenched?  Perhaps even securing first crack at new job openings for their family members?

Once their objectives were clear, then a detailed plan of action should have been put into place. To my mind a responsible union would have prepared their members emotionally and financially for the inevitable.  But I doubt this took place.

Because of my experience as a casualty in the wildcat strike and because I used the internet for information on cancelled flights and rebooking, I became quite familiar with the PAL page on Facebook.  As I read through the postings I saw that Palea members were using the page as a tool for venting their anger with PAL management.  As I and many other customers vented our anger at the PALEA members for their strike, their tone moved from ‘pasensyakanalang, we’re fighting to feed our children’ to bigoted and offensive insults directed at the Chinese, the gay community, a corrupt supreme court and clueless President.  I was called an old fart who should stick to ballroom dancing.

At first, I admit I was an angry customer.  But later I tried to teach about business dynamics, strategy and execution but it was futile.  And so today I continue to read the PAL Facebook page but no longer comment.

What have I learned thought all this?  Emotions blind.  Yes emotions are important but they should be controlled and harnessed.  No matter what the situation, be clear about your objectives, develop a detailed plan to achieve your objectives and stay focused.

Most of all I learned how blest I was to have worked in organizations , where regardless of level or department, there was a love for the job, love for the company and mutual respect.  



Malu DyBuncio is the Chief Business Development Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., (www.mansmith.net). For inquiries on our programs, please call (63-2) 584-5858/412-0034, text 0918-81-168-88 or email info@mansmith.net.