Former CEO of Southwest Airlines
Howard Putnam’s ultimate objective is “bottom-line improvement.” He believes that business cultures that place emphasis on people as the utmost priority in determining their future find long-term impact and success. Read More >
A Passenger Smiled: Successful Airline Strategies
Visioning: Changing the Way the Game is Played
Leadership Lessons from Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines changed the way the game is played in the airline industry. They created a new model that focused on low costs, low fares and great customer service. The goal was to expand the size of the pie (market). They hired “attitudes” and developed skill sets. Tradition doesn’t always work in any industry. Sometimes you have to flip your model upside down for a fresh look.
Leaders must have a clear and concise vision if they want their organizations to survive and thrive through turbulence. A clear understanding of what business or businesses you are really in is critical. Cultures can then be developed to support the vision and business. Bottom line improvement comes through your people. Howard Putnam has successfully led organizations through the maze following these principles of leadership and will share them with you.
Innovation and bold steps occur in organizations that embrace and foster a climate and culture for risk taking and idea implementation. Howard Putnam proved this philosophy works when he was CEO of Southwest Airlines. He positioned and organized Southwest for growth and profitability utilizing a very flat management structure with decision making and idea development imbedded in everyone’s job scope and responsibility. Individuals and teams were rewarded for risk taking and for designing out of the box processes and improvements in productivity, customer service, cost containment, safety and profitability. Brands develop when people thrive in the vision and experience. In this presentation he will describe how this can work in your organization.
Many organizations are out of alignment in the current turbulent environment. Their design is outdated with bureaucracy and a hierarchy that is expensive and inefficient. Howard Putnam will show you how to transform your business into a “flow state” organization that is focused, nimble, flexible, cost effective and able to utilize the “stages of turbulence” which he will identify for you to take advantage of being in a change state.
Successful organizations that are in business for the long term, place their people first if they want sustained bottom line improvement. Howard Putnam led the visioning process at Southwest Airlines in which a key element was the culture, putting their people first and matching attitudes with the culture. Happy employees and superior customer service resulted from this concept. He will share behind the scenes looks on how this was accomplished with great stories, humor and concrete suggestions for you.
Organizations cannot ignore the need for proactive efforts to ingrain honesty, integrity and trust at every level. Today’s environment requires ethical leaders, if they want their businesses to survive and grow. Howard Putnam learned the values of trust and honesty as he grew up on an Iowa farm. He has embodied those principles in his successful business career. He took on the challenge of saving Braniff International only to find the “books had been cooked” prior to his arrival. He will share this character building experience of taking a major airline through Chapter 11 successfully and offer a flight plan for you to implement in your organization.
"I just wanted to let you know that we really enjoyed Howard's presentation. The group was very recharged by it and only had good things to say about it."
"It was such a pleasure meeting Howard Putnam at our YIR meeting. I’ve heard nothing but great comments about him and his presentation. So many of our staff told me that this was the best speaker ever. We really enjoyed his pictures, stories, and especially the way he tied Southwest Airlines to ASH. His talk was inspiring."
"Thank you for your keynote presentation. You were so easy to work with and you took the time to familiarize yourself with our industry by talking to our leaders. It was great to see you attend our trade shows! Thank you once again for participating in such a large way at this important meeting."
"Your remarks were especially well received by the audience and were evaluated among the highest at the conference. I was most impressed by the way that you successfully bridged the presentations on technology trends…and the importance of customer service."
"We want to thank you so much for speaking with us last Monday morning. I’ve already started to get feedback from the week and many associates have commented on how inspiring and down to earth you were. I have to echo these sentiments and say you were the perfect fit!"
"Howard, you are an amazing man! Your speech was inspirational and motivated the attendees at the event. I believe you touched the way both manufacturers and retailers conduct their business in the future!"
"Your words were inspiring and your down-to-earth advice for navigating the sometimes rough skies of ethical decision-making was right on target. We could not have asked for a more appropriate—or a more entertaining—keynote speaker for this year’s event."
"Thank you for speaking to us last week. The feedback on you was delightfully positive. Your remarks and sense of humor were well received and I think our people came away with some new insights and feeling more positive about Union Bank’s future."
"Thanks for coming to the meeting and thanks for the great presentation. You made a big impact on the group; the feedback from the audience was uniformly positive. And yes, the team left on a 'high.'"