Tag Archives: Books

Delivering Happiness

When I get time to read again, one of the first books on my list is “Delivering Happiness”, by Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh.  Also on that list will be several of the books in the presentation below.

Maybe there’s a few here for you too.  I’ve only read some of these, so can’t vouch for them all, but anyone who is as obsessed with team and customer happiness as Tony seems to be, must be at least a better-than-average judge of on-topic reading material.

Enjoy.

Brief Book Review: The Southwest Airlines Way – Jody Hoffer Gittell

The-Southwest-Airlines-Way-Gittell-Jody-Hoffer-9780071458276THIS IS ARGUABLY the most important text on how teams can and should be managed so as to deliver great customer service.

Author Jody Hoffer Gittell does a good job of explaining the specific practices Southwest has developed and maintains in order to consistently deliver an airline experience that’s way better than its competitors, and creates profit in an industry renown for delivering losses.  The work is detailed, almost scholarly (yet very readable), and provides a blueprint for other organizations wishing to emulate Southwest’s success.  I also found it a fascinating insight into the complexities of running an airline.

Don’t think for a moment, though, that by reading this book and implementing a few changes you’ll have your organization swinging.  As you would expect, creating the exceptional requires more than a quick fix.  If you have the will though, and the authority to implement change, I highly recommend developing a plan based on the ten principles outlined in the book, and listed below:

Ten Practices for Building High Performance Relationships:

Lead with credibility and caring

Invest in frontline leadership

Hire and train for relational competence

Use conflicts to build relationships

Bridge the work/family divide

Create boundary spanners

Measure performance broadly

Keep jobs flexible at the boundries

Make unions your partners, not adversaries

Build relationships with your suppliers

If you’ve never flown Southwest, or heard about their brand of what I call “real” service, here’s a couple videos to whet your appetite:

A great TV commercial (1 min) :

A Southwest flight attendant singing a custom version of Jingle Bells (45 sec):

An interview (10 min) with Rita Bailey, erstwhile director of Southwest’s “University for People”:

Get the book here:        Paperback         Kindle

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More good reading on the Resources Page.

Economics in One Lesson Henry Hazlitt

Brief Book Review: Economics In One Lesson (Must Read!)

EVERYONE, let alone those in organizational leadership roles, should have a basic understanding of economics.  It is, after all, a field vitally important to us all: the science that identifies the principles governing the origin and growth of wealth.

There are several more academic and in-depth studies of economics available, but Henry Hazlitt’s classic delivers on its promise:  “The shortest and surest way to understand basic economics”.

You will come away wondering why economics seemed so complicated, when it’s actually quite simple.

The book’s greatest strength is the insistence that any study of economic phenomena must look at the totality, both “what is seen”, and “what is unseen”.  Failure to do so is where Keynesianism and its modern variants fall over; why today’s politicians have no hope of reversing the woeful economic trend; and why so many companies got blind-sided by the Global Economic Crisis.

Hazlitt clears this up in the first three pages, then goes on to shine light on the myriad of economic fallacies embraced by many of today’s “economists”, much to our detriment.

Writing is simple, clear, and well-illustrated.  This book can be read in a few hours, and you will come away wondering why economics seemed so complicated.  This is a must read for… well, everyone really.

Get it here:

Paperback         Kindle eBook          Free PDF Download