Tuesday, June 17, 2008

John Wood: Accountability Helps Focus

John Wood writes:

…Nothing focuses the mind quite like having to broadcast your results hundreds of times per day.

On my frequent travels, I noticed a reminder of this from the private sector.

United Airlines touted their number one on-time performance record on each and every napkin. Tens of thousands of times per day, they were telling their customers (and their employees) that this metric mattered.

Within a few weeks, I noticed that their flight attendants were much more focused on helping people with their overhead bags so that we could "push back for an on-time departure."

Knowing that they would be measured each month, and having bragged about it, the entire organization was focused on not losing their number one ranking.

Source: John Wood, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children (New York: Collins, 2006), 141.

A review of this inspiring book is posted at Reviewing Books and Movies.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: “performance record on each and every napkin.”