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Thanksgiving: it's about giving thanks

MEMPHIS: November 24, 2016. As we move toward the Holiday Period and what we often refer to as "PEAK" within the airline Industry it might be good to remind all of us to keep our focus on the areas we can control.

We pride ourselves as an industry on speed and often the items we carry are of the utmost value, or their velocity requirements driven by the urgency of their mission make them key for air transport. It is so easy to forget that we are not alone in our desire to serve our customers, but are part of greater team, and our role is just one player in the daily quest of serving our customers.

Several years ago I was traveling on a bus of airline executives headed to the golf event that was part of the TIACA Air Cargo Forum being held in Spain.

The golf course was a fairly long bus ride from the event venue so all on the bus were using the time to catch up on emails or discuss pressing business with their colleagues.

Few on the bus were paying any attention to the beautiful countryside we were passing through. After a couple hours one of the executives on the bus raised his voice to announce to all on board that we were coming up on a field filled with critically important people.

He got our attention... and as we approached the field and it came into view what we saw was a cemetery. We got his message... and all onboard put away our mobile phones or tablets and we started to look around... and began talking with our colleagues not about the business but about each other.

I often think of that lesson when I get my perspective out of focus, and the challenges of the day seem to be the only thing that is important.

As we enter the next few months when days are filled with every changing and increasing demands... and we are all trying to outfox the weather, or figure out how to move more freight than our networks may be designed to carry, all the while getting multiple customer calls about an ever more important shipment that must make it to destination today... you may want to think of all the folks that have gone before us... that have left us... and yet we still carry on.

It is gaining that balance between work and family, that we all know is so important, but we all fall victim to the demands of the day and forget to keep it in perspective.

Take some time to remember, we are not alone in our desire to serve our customers, we have colleagues that can help, and we have to keep that most important sense we possess... a sense of humor.

We need to say thanks more, and know that others have faced what we face and others will face it in the future so let's do what we can, but with a smile and kind word.

After all the holidays are about giving thanks, and spending time with our families and friends. So however each of you keep things in balance; there is probably no better time than PEAK to remind yourself of keeping everything in perspective.

Smile more...it takes fewer muscles, and if nothing else it will keep the competition guessing and your family, friends, and customers happy. We are here for a limited engagement, let's enjoy the show, and it is ok to keep the audience laughing even during the tough times.

- Frank Newman is managing director at FedEx Services and a TIACA Board member. Earlier this month FedEx won an award for 'Best Disaster Response and Community Resilience Program' from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center. The award recognized the company for its efforts in support of the Nepal earthquake relief effort in 2015.


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