Company News » FDs as leaders: Taking command and control of costs

That’s a bit of a Holy Grail: FDs are no different to CEOs,
editors or anyone else in a position of responsibility to deliver something, and
the thing that makes the difference between someone who can persuade people to
do what they need doing and someone who can’t is something management
consultants have made billions from claiming to understand – because no one
knows what it is.

Which brings me to British Airways. As we were going to press, news reached
us that it had been granted a High Court injunction to block a 12-day strike by
their cabin crew, on a technicality around the Unite ballot having counted as
valid the votes of some cabin crew that no longer worked there (seemingly
because they had already been laid off). BA lives to fly another day, or 12. But
surely the humiliation of their staff and the union will make clear whether
there is any goodwill left between the business and the people operating it on
the ground.

Is this leadership? Allowing negotiations to drag on for weeks, getting well
beyond the point of no return, with the unions being the immovable object to
your opposition’s unstoppable force? BA’s injunction makes their people the
enemy – how does this help the business? “There was never any need for a strike
and we hope that Unite will take this opportunity to reflect before deciding on
its next steps,” BA said. Reflect? It is well beyond the pondering stage. BA and
its people are at war with each other – but at what cost?

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