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The Challenge Tool

Being a firefighter in business is a glamorous role. You solve massive problems and get all the glory. But it’s far better to be a fire warden. 

When you can help the leaders you coach to solve problems before they occur, you become a priceless member of their team…

American Airlines canceled 2,200 flights on a single day, during the pandemic. That left tens of thousands of passengers stranded.

The COO, David Seymour, said the airline was “proactively canceling” flights after high winds and bad weather.

On another day, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights, blaming weather and air traffic control issues. That meltdown cost the airline $75 million.

Spirit Airlines canceled around 2,000 flights, blaming scheduling. They stranded thousands of passengers and it cost the airline $50 million. 

That’s thousands and thousands of customers who missed weddings, funerals, meetings, interviews and family gatherings. 

Blaming predictable problems like the weather and staffing shortages didn’t win you any love or support from your customers. 

When you’re coaching the leader of a big organization there’s a simple yet powerful tool you can use with them to help them—and their team—predict, solve and navigate challenges.

The Challenge Tool 


What mistakes or tiny errors of judgment have you (or your team) made that could have a huge cost in the future?


What dangers, threats or challenges are you currently facing? What small problems do you have, right now, that could lead to massive problems if they are not addressed?


How can you astonish any customers or clients who have faced challenges due to your company’s mistakes? When you own up to a mistake, take responsibility and then astonish a customer, they actually become raving fans.

If you really want to go deep into this, here are 5 more tools to help your clients solve their problems before they happen.

Love. Rich


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