Signboards – why we need them

Last Tuesday I was in Chennai for a day long meeting of a general council that I am a part of. I had the return flight to Delhi at 9 pm. When I checked with Rajini on how much time it will take for me to reach the airport from her office, she said, not more than 45 minutes. So we left her office at 6.45 pm. She got herself dropped on the way without even a detour to her place and the driver took me straight on, to the airport.

Since it was a domestic flight, I got off at gate no.4 of the Chennai domestic terminal where it said “all flights”. There was a small queue at the entrance and after 5 minutes I showed my boarding pass to the security guard. He told me, this flight leaves from the international terminal and not from the domestic terminal. I was booked on Air India. The distance between the domestic terminal and the international terminal is about 1.5 to 1.8 kilometres. I didn’t have any luggage with me thankfully, so I started to walk briskly from the domestic terminal towards the international terminal. Managed to reach in about 20 minutes, and then had to stand in the queue for about 10 minutes before entering the terminal. I went through security check and it was nearly 8.25 by the time I reached the gate that was mentioned in the boarding pass ….

When I caught my breath, I called Krishnan and the first thing I told him after calling Chennai names :):) is – “there were no signboards” !!. All that Air India and Jet Airways had to do was to put a huge signboard at the domestic terminal to say, please go further to the international terminal because we fly from there. Why do they expect a customer to guess or know it intuitively ? There were atleast 5 to 6 folks that I met who had made the same mistake. The battery operated golf cart that are supposed to ferry passengers between the terminals was not working because it had lost charge …. ok, am not even going there, because the entire Chennai airport is a case study by itself, nearly every aspect of customer service is missed at this airport :(.

Coming back to signboards – do examine the signboards that you put up when you deal with your teams, peers and bosses… are you clearly stating your expectations? Is your team aware of what your priorities are ? Are you aware of your priorities? Expectations and priorities are personal signboards and just as in the case of the Chennai airport, a missing signboard can derail your flight. I was concerned that I might miss the flight itself. If your expectations are not clearly stated, your team might miss the targets. If your priorities are not set out in bold letters, you might miss achieving your goals, professional or personal.

Just take the example of health. If you think of making health your priority but don’t put it out in bold and on top of everything else on your “to do” list, you will soon realise that you are too busy to go out for that walk or the session at the gym. Soon a week goes by, then a month and then a whole year … suddenly you realise on some Dec 31st that your health is failing and it was never a priority for you. The signboard wasn’t large enough. It was like the “health” signboard had a poster of meetings and official dinners pasted on it and it got hidden from your view.

Please check again – do you have your signboards (expectations and priorities) setup where required and they are big and cannot be missed !

1 thought on “Signboards – why we need them”

  1. Signboards and direction signs are deficient everywhere I go. We in the US build interstates faster than we can post signs for them. Forget old fashioned highway maps. If you don’t have GPS, you’re out of luck. We have real estate signs in front of street signs, and tree branches in front of stop lights. Even natives have trouble negotiating Savannah streets. I feel sorry for tourists.


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