I found this researching my next book, Leading with Happiness.
At the 2008 Southwest Airlines Shareholders’ Meeting, CEO Gary Kelly ended his presentation with this wonderful story.
February the 27th we had flight number 1218 preparing for departure from Dallas to Las Vegas via Austin and as the customers were taking their seats our Dallas flight attendant Robin Hopkins was approached by a customer who I’ll refer to as Janice.
Janice was asking for help with her cellphone and she didn’t know how to turn it off. Robin assisted Janice but asked if she was okay because Robin can tell that she had been crying. Janice answered that she was on her way to Las Vegas to identify her only son at the medical examiner’s office.
Upon hearing this Robin informed the two other flight attendants Melissa Smith and Lisa Christian as to what was going on and our flight attendants comforted Janice.
Melissa and Lisa handled the entire flight from Austin to Las Vegas while Robin sat with Janice and she learned about her son and she was there to provide comfort. They talked for the rest of the flight.
When they landed in Las Vegas Candace Robinson and Brandy Fuller who are Las Vegas in-flight supervisors met Janice at the gate and they took over. Brandy handled all of her immediate needs while Candace went on to get her own car to drive Janice. Candace was also able to secure a hotel room next to the funeral home.
There was no one there for Janice except for Southwest Airlines people and this is just one powerful example of our people in action and it happens hundreds of times every single day and most of which we never hear about. But they don’t do it for the recognition, they don’t do it for the money. They do it because they care and at Southwest Airlines we are blessed to find and to hire and to keep people who care.
I don’t know if you can teach people how to care but you can’t encourage it you can support it and when you know about it you can certainly recognize it.
This is amazing story and I love the fact that the CEO told it at the shareholders’ meeting. This clearly shows investors where Southwest’s priorities are and that they can expect the company to continue to treat its employees and customers well.
You’ll notice I’ve skipped chapter 4 (What is happy leadership) for now.
I would be really, really grateful if you would pick a chapter (or more than one), read it and tell me what you think in a comment on this post. No matter which chapter you pick, it may make sense to read the introduction – it’s pretty short and it explains what the whole book is about.
In your feedback, please do not focus on:
Typos, spelling and punctuation
Design and layout
Cross references and footnotes
Figures and illustrations – they come later
But please do give me your thoughts on the content, including:
Anything that you like or which rings a bell for you
Anything that isn’t perfectly clear to you
Any factual mistakes or misunderstandings
Any additional stories or example you know of that I could add
Please share your feedback in a comment on this post!
Our latest Happiness at Work Academy was a HUGE hit. 24 participants came to Copenhagen from 15 countries to learn all about happiness at work – including some from as far away as Australia, Hong Kong, Colombia, USA and Canada.
We had 4 amazing days with high energy, great conversations and a ton of networking. The group consisted of both internal HR people and leaders looking to make their own workplaces happier as well as external consultants who focus on happiness at work.
It’s a real treat for us to be able to go much more in depth with the topic than we usually have time for in our speeches and workshops – especially with a group that’s already passionate about the topic and practicing it in real life.
Work has moved from cow to computer, but workplaces still favour early risers and an industrial-age view of productivity.
Camilla Kring has a PhD in Work-Life Balance and as owner of Super Navigators, makes workplaces happier by increasing the Work-Life Balance of their employees. She is specialized in creating flexible work cultures that support our differences in family forms, work forms and biological rhythms.
This is her talk from the International Conference on Happiness at Work 2017 in Copenhagen. Flexibility is among the keys to well-being, and management must have the courage to address the flexibility of their company’s work culture because culture determines whether employees have the courage to make use of flexibility.
The first step is to set people free from 9-5 and that work is something that only can take place at the office. Work is not a place – it’s an ongoing activity. Second, focus more on results and less on visibility. Third, give people the tools to improve their individual Work-Life Balance.
Woohoo! Yesterday I did a workshop for a team of 100 people from a big Danish pharmaceutical company. Here is what they wrote afterwards:
Thank you for an amazingly inspiring day full of facts and specific suggestions for action. The workshop was incredibly energetic and the exercises were engaging. The participants have only had positive things to say and have already adopted the behaviors.
More and more workplaces want to measure everything. KPIs, scorecards and performance goals are supposed to motivate employees and help increase their productivity. But is that really a good way to motivate employees and makes them happy?
Helle Hein has a ph.d. in management and has done research on motivation for the past 20 years.
Her research shows that many people are not motivated by metrics and bonuses but by something more meaningful – a professional calling or a cause that matters deeply to them. Leading these people based only on performance measures and financial rewards leads to frustration and a huge loss of talent and motivation.
In this talk from the International Conference on Happiness at work 2017 in Copenhagen she will show you how your organization can get the most out of its most talented employees, what really motivates people (no, it’s not bonuses) and how to make sure that people feel that their work really matters to them.
The Woohoo inc Academy is our most intense and in-dept training. Over 3 days we go over all the theory and practice of happiness at work, ending with an exam and certification. We limit the group size to 25 participants so we have plenty of time for questions and interaction.
The next June 20-23 in Copenhagen is almost sold out. There are only 3 seats left and it’s going to be a very international affair. We currently have participants from: