Traveling through DCA airport last week. As thousands of my closest friends and I sat waiting for our chance to be called as the next contestant on the “So you want to be a sardine” game show, not once but twice an alarm sounded on a gate door. In both cases, no one even flinched. The gate agent didn’t so much as glance up. No one in the airport gave more than a one-second stare. No security guard even breathed differently. In one case, the alarm sounded well over a minute (may have been several). When it shut off, the response was similar to when it went on — nothing.I pondered this a bit. In what is perhaps the most scrutinized and dangerous airport in the world based on its proximity to secure areas, an alarm (one of these loud bells) went essentially unheeded. Were there terrorists running down the gangplank with nuclear bombs in their possession? Was a ramp worked helplessly pinned between two mammoth pieces of equipment? Did a new employee just hit the wrong button? Probably none of the above, but doesn’t it warrant at least checking it out?Of course, no one nearby had the job of ‘security’. That’s someone else’s job. Makes you wonder.The moral/parallel/lesson that I managed to pontificate upon was that we have lots of alarms in our lives and especially in our communication that go unheeded. We become callous and jaded and also just don’t have time to chase down everything that happens in our world that could possibly affect us. The trick is to not only listen to the alarms, but take action or allow someone else to take action. When an audience gives any indication they are checking out, it’s time to change. When a loved one indicates that there is pain in their life, it’s bears investigation. When the requirements of the project are not clear, it’s worth a little extra time to nail down.
Better to nail down the security and validity of the communication than to give it and find it was lost.