Yoda with a Carry-On

How to empower people to do more for themselves. Real world example from the airlines industry on how to use Good Authority. More Yoda, less superhero.


I’m always on the lookout for moments where I can show people what more Yoda less superhero looks like. And I happen to be talking with a flight attendant, who’s also starting a nonprofit. And she’s struggling with how to be more disciplined about her time feeling like she gets sucked into too many meetings, the meetings are going over. And there’s just a lack of organizational discipline in terms of how they move through the details and the tasks of the day.

And so I asked her well, how do you do more Yoda less superhero when you’re on an airplane, for example, when you’re managing pesky passengers, like us, and she thought for a moment and can see the brain making some connections, she said, Actually, we are more Yoda when it comes to the way we handle carry on luggage, more Yoda than when we used to do it.

So what they used to do is flight attendants back in the day, however many days ago, that was, they might help you with your luggage, they might do it for you. But they don’t do that anymore. And you will notice this, the next time you go on a plane, they will say to you, they will give you the instructions for how you should handle your own carry on luggage. And then they will tell you that they are around and they are available if you need help. Right, so they don’t stay there and do it with you. They don’t do it for you. They don’t stay next to you while you’re doing it, they go away, but they offer you help if you need it.

So the three ingredients of being more Yoda. One: clear instructions, giving the person the tools for how to do the thing that you want them to able to do for themselves. Two, removing yourself from the physical environment or the virtual environment as that might be the case. Or number two, removing yourself, going away, giving them the space to do it to try it for themselves. And then three, letting them know that you’re not abandoning them that if they get stuck or they need support that you will come back.

So just thought was a great example to unpack and show you what more Yoda less superhero looks like on an airplane. And you can think about that the next time you take a flight as we’re all starting to get on planes a little bit more these days, and I wish you well.


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