“Dear Dennis”…An Open Letter to the CEO of #Boeing

Dear Dennis,

It must be a gas to run such an excellent company! I have always loved Boeing, am an ardent supporter and am even a (very small) stockholder. 

So, Dennis, it’s time we had a talk.

People have suffered two terrible and inconsolable tragedies. No question it has a drastic impact on everyone. I still remember the chill up and down my spine when I first read about the Lion Air flight and then the Ethiopian crash. I am sick over it and I know that you and every Boeing employee feels it in your bones. We all grieve. I have been waiting for Boeing to step up and handle this in a way that makes me proud that you are leading the company. Ya know what? I’m still waiting. Dude, you are screwing this up. Big Time.

I have read every article and your public statements about the crash. Well written and clearly vetted by your lawyers and PR people, and they consistently miss the mark for what I need to hear. Both messages were all about YOU. They reeked of defensiveness and being as protective of the company as you can. I get it. You have stockholders, 170,000 jobs, the board and your 24M at stake. Since I am also a CEO of a booming company of one ( well maybe three if you count my wife and my dog ) I understand your dilemma, Dennis.  

Do you know what your messages are missing? Humility and vulnerability.  

Dennis, you have to sell this MUCH better. Right now you are the chief sales officer more than you ever had to be and you are failing. That is your NUMBER ONE Job. That’s it. Start with embracing that every word you speak, every statement is a selling moment. You need to change your glasses and have the mindset that everything you do creates an image that sends a message to “buy” you and by extension your planes…..or not.

All I see and hear is how great Boeing is ( and they are). I don’t see anything that lets me think that YOU genuinely own this. What are you afraid of? Of yeah. The swirling of the sharks who are planning zillions of dollars in lawsuits. Hey, you are getting sued, and it will cost you plenty. You can’t stop that train. You have billions of orders that are at risk. Yep, with you. Airbus can’t fill what you will lose so you can handle that (and for goodness sakes buck up and launch the 797 already!)

Dennis, get some new PR people and learn to sell this. Sales are not about playing defense and that’s where you started and stay. Sorry, but you look kinda weak man. Be strong, step up, OWN THIS and get IN FRONT of this. The wide open window is almost shut. You had a golden opportunity to manage this crisis, and you got bad advice. I have full confidence that the problem will get solved and the 737 Max will fly proudly again, and that’s not your job to make the fix. Your job is to sell Boeing and restore confidence.

Let me repeat it: YOU ARE THE CHIEF SALES OFFICER OF BOEING.  Every single employee of Boeing is in sales. Do you get that? Of course you do – that’s why you get paid the big bucks!

Well, that’s it. I have some stuff I could send you that would help, but I don’t have your email address. In fact, just give me a call and I’ll help you for free. I love Chicago, and I will come to you. Let’s talk ..or not. Your choice. But please get better at this and save my company.

All the best,

Todd Cohen, A DIEHARD Fan of Boeing.

( I wanted to buy more FaceBook, but that leadership team is a PR disaster as well. I have to think about my ability to pick stocks. Whattya think?)

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