Peak Your Profits: The flight to your future is now boarding.
(Interview by Jeff Blackman at MarcoNews.com)
It's somewhat ironic, that one of the most down-to-earth guys I know spent his professional career ... up in the clouds. Literally! Yet, perhaps it's that sense of being grounded that enabled Howard Putnam to pursue and achieve such lofty goals.
While you might not know Howard's name or the quality of his work, there's a pretty good chance his decisions had a direct impact upon you, your family, friends and co-workers. Especially, if you travel by air.
Howard spent 20 years at United Airlines. His final position was as Group VP Marketing. He was also the CEO at Southwest Airlines, as well as, CEO and Chairman of Braniff International.
Howard was the first airline CEO to take a major airline into, through and out of chapter 11. Successfully. He calls Braniff, "an Enron," for they too, had been "cooking the books."
Today, Howard is an extremely successful speaker and author - "The Winds of Turbulence."
Here are excerpts from our conversation about life, business, values, leadership, and the always entertaining, Herb Kelleher!
Jeff Blackman: What lessons did you learn at the airlines, that are applicable to any size business?
Howard Putnam: A clear succinct vision is critical. Not a motherhood statement, but down to earth words that tell all your stakeholders where you're going.
Next, understand what business you're really in. Not just the product or service, but the ultimate value and experience you provide. At Southwest we figured-out we were not an airline, we were in mass transportation.
Then develop a strong culture, hire attitudes and develop skills to support the vision and business. As CEO, it was my responsibility to drive the vision into the fabric of the organization. One person at a time. Until everyone believed it and executed it every day. It was extremely important for Southwest. It works in every business.
JB: What does Southwest know, that other businesses don't?
HP: Most businesses know it, they just don't believe in it. Southwest treats their people and families as number one. If you do that, your employees will treat your customers as number one.
It's so simple, but most businesses don't get it. The bottom line will then be the benefactor, as will your investors. That's the most important ingredient, your people. After that, comes high productivity, simplicity, low costs and strong, ethical leadership.
Read the rest of Howard Putnam's interview: