Finding Joy in Your work

Postbulletin.com: Harvey Mackay: Work for the love of it all – Mon, Oct 15, 2007

For all of the complaining we do about the airlines and for all of the lousy attitudes we often run across, here’s a positive story I read and liked and wanted to share.

It’s a story about a United Airlines pilot who goes way above and beyond his job description. He finds joy in his work, pride in his work, as Deming might have talked about.

“…United Airlines pilot, Capt. Denny Flanagan. He could teach us all a lesson about customer service. Among his special touches … He takes care of his passengers on flights that are delayed or diverted to other cities because of storms. He has been known to order a couple hundred hamburgers from McDonald’s or to find a store where he can get bananas or apples to pass out.”

The amazing thing is that the airline encourages him, rather than squashing his spirit and telling him to play by the rules. Some enlightened management from an airline!!

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“United, which ranked next to worst in consumer complaints, recognizes what Flanagan’s efforts mean for the company. According to the Journal, the airline supplies the airplane trading cards he hands out as passengers board, plus books, wine and discount coupons he has flight attendants give away. United also reimburses him for the food he buys during prolonged delays.”

If you see the comment Mike left on the recent post about ER’s, I guess he would hold this pilot up as an example of someone taking charge and trying to make things better. That’s great. But, I also agree with the comment that implies cases like this pilot are pretty rare… sounds like a special person, hence being the focus of an inspirational column, right?

What obligation does leadership have to help create an environment where more people can take action without being squashed or beaten down?

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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