I’m like the Matt Stone and Trey Parker of blog posts. I don’t even start writing until 24 hours before publishing to make sure it’s maximally topical and relevant. Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself in an effort to justify my procrastination. Try as I might, there’s really no justifying it, yet it still happens. That probably says more about me than I want it to……

It doesn’t really matter how we got here, does it? Just matters that we did. I promise you one of these days I’m going to get smart, really figure out how to write prompts for ChatGPT, and have it write all of these blogs for me. Then you’ll finally get coherent and cogent thoughts about the business of private aviation with just a little sprainkle of that classic “Mark” “flavor”. That could have been one quote, I know. I just wanted you to feel the implication of my air quotes when you read it.

This sounds much cheesier than it’s intended to, and I touched on it a little bit last month when I mentioned some customer survey work we were doing, but more companies should look at their customers for inspiration. See? I told you it was cheesy. To be clear, what I mean is that your customers should inspire frequent and rigorous self-reflection of you, your company, and your delivery.

  • Are we providing the experience we promise?
  • Is it the “right” experience?
  • Do we deliver the value we promise?
  • Is there consistency in what’s being delivered?
  • Do these things align with mission, vision, values?

If you’re like me, the answer is sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no”.

You’re pausing here, I’m sure of it, and thinking “none of that sounds bureaucratic”. In and of itself, it’s not, but it is healthy. As a part of a conversation on customer journey, though, and particularly if scale is desired, it forces you down the path of adopting structure and rigidity in your activities and forces you to view things through a customer-first lens. You need policies, processes, and procedures defined for your onboarding, maintenance, and offboarding of customers, for your product management, and your project management. You need checklists. You need expectations set around utilization. You need accountability to it because if you’re not accountable to your customers then you’re accountable to nothing.

Delivering experience consistently and repeatably, without the feeling of structure to customers, counter-intuitively depends on structure and rigidity. Finding the balance between enough structure to guide and inform and not overwhelming (employees or customers) is delicate, and as much art as it is science.

Good structure across the various elements of an organization is negatively affirmed more often than not. Customers don’t feel when it’s there, but they sure feel when it’s not.