Are you bored in TSA lines when traveling through airports? Off-Topic? Not really.

By Sandra Clitter  

At first, this post seems to be way off-topic – but really, its not! Believe it or not, we have something to learn from a creative approach to an annoying problem – airport security lines and the TSA explanation of what we can/can not do as we approach the ‘dreaded’ screening point.

As we deal with technology (among other things in life), there are times when we really don’t want to do something, but ‘security’ or someone/something else, requires us to do it a certain way.

For example, let’s say that in order to sign in to the company server from outside the building you have to jump through several hoops in order to connect and get to the information you’re seeking. There can be a multitude of reasons for this, but you don’t really care, you want to sign on in a more efficient manner. If you complain, someone’s just going to say ‘sorry, its policy’. On the other hand, if an explanation were given in a creative fashion which explained the why’s and how’s, you’d probably better remember the sequence of hoops you have to jump through to accomplish your goal, plus you’d be more understanding of the ‘why’.

Do you wonder ‘why’ you need to complete a certain task by the end of business on the first Friday of the month when you never see anyone actually USING the information until about the 3rd week of the month? There’s probably a good reason. If that reason were shared with everyone, it would help alleviate the annoyance. Even better if the reasons were shared in an entertaining way.

When searching for ways to improve processes within a business, it is almost always advisable to give the stakeholders (anyone who fits into the process or interacts with the process) an explanation of WHY you’re asking them to do what they do, as well as, an understanding of what happens further down the line (later in the process) if they fail to accomplish their ‘mission’ in a timely and accurate fashion.

Ta-Da!!! Enter the TSA and airport security lines (I told you that I would connect the two!)…

Here’s the way the Cindi Martin, Director of the Glacier Park International Airport in Montana dealt with the problem of long, boring lines security lines…she had a video created to counteract the boredom and uncreative way the TSA shares information on screening with you, the traveling public…

Now, let me ask you…are you more likely to be in a positive frame of mind at the end of the line if you’ve been watching this, or after watching the usual TSA explanatory video?

While I’m still working on creating videos (yes, I’m really trying to make that happen), I still try to employ other methods to make ‘dull and boring’ or ‘confusing’ or ‘challenging’ times be a little bit less frustrating. Let me give you an example. One of the services which we provide is to assist companies with improving the flow of information throughout their business. By getting all of the department heads and senior management into one room, and diagramming the process, disconnects and questionable information flows come to light. Unfortunately, at the same time, the senior management (oftentimes, the President or owner of the company) can get a bit heated or overinvolved in the conversation. Alternately, someone can get defensive or nervous about losing control of a process that they want to oversee. The permutations can be endless.

How do I combat this problem? I have the ‘Talking Chicken’. No, it’s not a chicken that talks…its a rubber chicken (one of those horrible, ugly, rubber, plucked chickens). Without possession of the ‘talking chicken’, you don’t get to open your mouth – it doesn’t matter if you’re the janitor or the president – no chicken, no talking. As an outsider and moderator, I can control the discussion using the chicken – making sure that everyone has an opportunity to speak or defend their position. People end up laughing and remembering the chicken…they don’t remember being ‘put in their place’, or in effect, being told to ‘shut up’.

How can you improve your communication using fun and creative approaches to make difficult or boring topics more enjoyable?

P.S. Sons of Beaches, you’re terrific!!! Please come ‘fix’ the Philly Airport TSA lines 🙂

P.P.S. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, NV created their own 13-part video which replaces the TSA video, as well, but let’s face it…one expects something like that in Las Vegas!!! You can view the McCarran videos here.

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