LUV – Only the Tip of the (Near-Universal) Corporate Fragility Iceberg

I have no doubt that many of you hold positions that provide sufficient perspective on at least a small portion of the (broadly speaking) corporate condition but, for those who do not let me state for the record: All is not well.

Much of the last decade and a half has been spent grooming corporate structures and marinating corporate cultures to be anything but strong, focused business entities. Much of the discussion so far about the Christmas Meltdown by Southwest Airlines has been accurate but really just touching on the symptoms and not the greater disease. While I admit to having no specific insight into this situation, three decades of experience tells me that LUV is by no means a unique situation…the disease is rampant and the resulting fragilities are irreversible. This meltdown is just the first (and most public) of the pandemic of meltdowns that is coming. (Many smaller and slower progressing meltdowns are currently underway…I have seen more than one.) Each will be triggered by unique events (either large or small…it may not take much in many cases) and the first order effects of each may be massively public like LUV or more subtle and hidden. But the cumulative effect of the pandemic of meltdowns will be massively destructive in any number of ways over the next decade. (And, no, not along the lines of the “creative destruction” that Mittens Romney fans may be hoping for.)

You have been warned.

As always, into this rather fearsome abyss we go…

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