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Actions Speak Louder than Words

What is the best way to turn around a customer service policy that is overburdended with procedure?

BURN THE MANUAL!

That is exactly what Gordon Bethune did when he finally accepted the post of CEO at Continental Airlines.

Bethune turned down twice the offer of becoming CEO due to a difference of opinion with the Board – they wanted to cut costs, he thought that would bring the company down. One of the first things he did after accepting the offer in 1994, was to set fire to a pile of customer service manuals in the parking lot, sending a powerful message: less procedures, more common sense.

(Source The Tools of Cooperation and Change Christensen and Stevenson. HBR Oct 2006, 84 (10) from Bethune’s book From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental’s Remarkable Comeback

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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in change, leadership

 

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