I am writing this blog in an appropriate setting on board a flight back to the East Coast. As I am watching all my fellow passengers drag on their suitcases, stuff them in the overhead bins and then shove their remaining belongings under the seat in front of them, I can not help but think about the topic of baggage. We know in this case the airlines are transferring the cost of baggage to the passenger. To avoid paying the fees, everyone brings their life belongings on board and the airlines save money on their need for less staff in the baggage claim areas. But what about the cost of safety in the cabin when that 50 pound suitcase tumbles out on your head when the plane hits bad turbulence? What about the cost of all the time that it takes to board the plane while the weight lifting tournament is taking place in the aisle? There are a lot of hidden costs in the airline baggage game.

So now let’s switch to the cost of the excess baggage that we bring into our businesses. Some of the baggage is hard to understand or ever get rid of; hidden in our personal psyche. The accumulation of our life experiences that “forces” us to attach judgments and place limitations on the people and situations that we deal with everyday. Some of that baggage is created by poor leadership and the resulting lack of goals, clarity of vision and mission and defined values. The leadership baggage can result in unclear expectations, lower standards, communication breakdowns and little accountability. Some of the baggage is used as a shield for people to blame others for their own lack of performance; the victim mentality. Finally, much of the baggage is locked away in unspoken communications and the fear of confronting difficult conversations; so bad behaviors are allowed to exist.

What baggage is entering your company’s “cabin”? How much is it costing you?