Turbo Leadership Systems

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December 11, 2007 Issue 151 To our clients and friends
Flying High

As a leader, deciding to make changes is the easy part. Getting your people on board is much more difficult. Why is that? Quite simply, change is an emotional process. We are all creatures of habit who usually welcome routine. Unchartered waters are scary!

In fact, change is the key that unlocks the doors to growth and excitement in any organization. Most importantly, without change, your competition will pass you by. A big part of success as a leader will be your ability to inspire your team to get out of their comfort zones. Your team must be assured that even though they are on a new path, it's the right path for the right reasons.

This is your job as an empowering leader; to inspire, to motivate, and to encourage your team to move forward to embrace change.

This is your job as an empowering leader; to inspire, to motivate, and to encourage your team to move forward to embrace change.

To change any culture in any company, the people at the top have to show it! Because words without deeds mean nothing!

When Dave Neeleman started the airline, Jet Blue, he knew the importance of leading from the front and letting his actions speak. His mission was to create a customer service culture and he knew all eyes would be watching.

Not long ago, there was a great story in INC. magazine written by Norm Brodskey. In it, Brodskey wrote about being on a Jet Blue flight when Neeleman was on board . . .

"As we were buckling up to take off, Neeleman stood up and

introduced himself. 'Hi, I'm Dave Neeleman, the CEO of Jet Blue. I'm here to serve you today and I'm looking forward to meeting every one of you before we land.'

"As he was handing out snack baskets, he would stop to chat with everyone. When he came to me, I told him I thought it was a great idea to serve his customer first hand, and asked him how often he did it. Expecting him to say once or twice a year, he said, 'Not often enough . . I get to do it about once a month.'

"Out of curiosity, I watched him interact with other passengers. In several instances, I saw him taking notes and listening intently to what passengers were saying. In a few instances when he couldn't answer the question, I watched him take a business card and say, 'Someone will be in touch with you in the next 24 hours.' Even at the end of the flight, there was Neeleman, in his blue apron, leading the charge collecting the trash from the seat pockets."

Now here's a question for you . . . Is there any doubt that Jet Blue employees knew that their leader was willing to walk the talk when it came to serving the customers? And is there any doubt that the frontline knew he was on their team?

When asked if he thought leading by example was the most important quality of leadership, the great humanitarian, Albert Schweitzer thought for a second and then replied, "No, it's not the most important one. It's the only one."

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