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am 13. Dezember 2014
the book came just on time, but this is understandable, because it is an american book and not so often required in germany. i was quite satisfied with the price of the book as amazon was so kind and did not charge anything for the dispatch. the book has given me an insight of how to think about situations in life.
yours sincerely,
henry gatzweiler
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am 21. März 1999
Anybody who has been in the workforce a few years will bond with Gordon Bethune's central message: "It's about people, and nothing but people." Who among us hasn't worked for the secretive sociopath, or the authoritarian arse? These are the creeps whose subordinates are constantly looking over their shoulders rather than at their work at hand. These were the types who created the revolving-door syndrome at Continental's corner office. Let's face it, no matter how big the company, the poop invariably filters down to the rocky bottom, which was exactly where Continental was. It even had employees yanking company insignia off their uniforms before leaving work. Enter Bethune. His solution was simple. Burn the company s.o.p. manual and start over with the Golden Rule. He started to treat employees as human beings to see if they reciprocated. They did. He gave them latitude in decision-making to see if they could resolve problems on the spot. They did. He told them what was wrong, and asked for their patience and help to fix it. He got it. He gave them a timetable and, ever since, he has been meeting or beating his deadlines. Finally, he rewarded employees for a job well done. Mr. Bethune's account initially seems a trifle pretentious. Frank talk often does. On the other hand, he openly admits that he merely used basic horse sense with everyone he worked, eschewing "business-grad" consulting malarkey. "Suddenly," he exclaims, "our employees are running a good airline." Speaking of business grads, Bethune's wonderfully-prosaic effort is an all-the-more-reliable gauge to the real world of business in that he is a career sweathog. He learned it all in the trenches, rather than hire ivory-tower pretenders who took notes from the pressbox. Any supervisor who has wondered about high employee turnover should read this book.
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am 3. Juni 1998
Gordon has written management book for the 21st century in a style that's all his own. Although he's clear to point out the ideas aren't new, Gordon's storytelling style offers a fresh, unique perspective for today's managers.
Using clear, simple language that anyone can understand and relate to, Gordon explains how his real-life experiences led him to the management theories that made Continental an overwhelming success. You don't have to be an executive to benefit from executive insight. This book shares the ideas and leadership abilities that make Gordon worth his executive salary -- ideas that work just as well for managing 4 people as 40,000.
Because he's my uncle, I know these stories are authentically told. It was especially fun for me as a relative to see how much of his personality is communicated in the book. Nothing can substitute for meeting Gordon, but the book is a good start!
From Worst to First is best viewed as a coaching or teaching tool. When teaching, repetition is often the rule, and you'll find that here. It can be a slight interruption if you're not actively involved in coaching a team, but if you are, read a little of this book each day and see how many of the anecdotes and ideas you can apply to your own team. You'll be surprised at how much a crop duster's son has learned over the years!
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am 8. Juli 1998
While I enjoyed the book, I cannot rate it higher because it is in many ways a work of fiction. As a frequent flier on Continental, I have witnessed a decline rather than improvement in the quality of service afforded passengers. Too frequently, business authors write books glorifying their success and business acumen, while the reported benefits are invisible to their customers. This is such a case.
Has the airline improved its bottom line. Yes. But that is because frequent fliers like myself don't have much of a choice if we live near a hub. This does not infer that we approve of the airline's service or treatment of its customers. As my neighbor on a recent flight commented,"if I had any choice, I would fly airline XYZ in a heartbeat."
If you would like to read a similar book by a CEO who did in fact turn his airline around (from a financial as well as customer perspective), try Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon of Scandanavian Airlines. In this case, why buy the recipe if you don't like the food?
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am 23. August 1998
I've personally endured Continental's problems in the early Nineties as a student coming back from college in Northern California to Guam every year. The total apathy was prevalent in every employee's facial expressions! Continental to me was the anthithesis of customer service. Incredibly, I have noticed the flip-flop changes during my recent flights on Continental -- via Continental Micronesia, an incredibly-together subsidiary based in Micronesia.
With easy, repeated themes throughout the book that boil down to the four basic ideas of Market, Finance, Product and Employees, Bethune weaves an incredible but credible story of probably one of the greatest turnarounds in history. His personal biographical information dotted through the book adds tangible, real-life lessons that seamlessly match up to his deep but simple philosophy of today's Continental.
I'm getting a copy to each of my senior managers. Hold off on the buzz-word-laden academic books. Buy the book and read it, at least a few times.
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am 11. Februar 2000
This is a great book and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Bethune's engaging and simple writing style made it easy to read and understand. Outlining his four-fold plan for turning around Continental airlines, Bethune offers advice to all business professionals. He uses numerous examples from his previous affiliations with the airline industry, as well as stories and anecdotes, to make his simple, yet profound points. At the end of the book, I felt like I could run an airline, too! As a frequent flyer who flew on Continental for many years, I was fascinated by the behind-the-scenes account of what was really happening. At times, I did find myself thinking he might have painted the past so bleak as to make his leadership look even better, but I'll allow him that. Bethune understands that the customer is not always right, but the customer is everything to a business. I would highly recommend this business strategy book to anyone looking to change an unhealthy organization into one more healthy and profitable.
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am 28. Januar 1999
I am sure that what Gordon Bethune has done for Continental is truly worth a great deal of appreciation. However, the account given in this book fails to describe the turnaround process at Continental in an exciting and informational way. It is too repetitive. I think that I understand when a person says that "the employees hated Continental" after I read that five times, but to mention that in every second paragraph is unnecessary. What Bethune fails to give us is interesting incidents where he actually used the strategies that he employed. Although the "Go Forward Plan" has been broken into four parts, each part somehow connects to something else in the middle of the section and talks about something not concerning that section at all. But above all, if the Continental employees contributed to buy Bethune a Harley Davidson, it shows that he did an incredible job at Continental. So, maybe he should stick to fixing airlines and leave the writing to someone else.
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am 5. Juli 2000
I really like this book. It is very informative and deals with the state of Continental at the time of the turn around. As an employee at the time, we were not told much about what was happening. Gordon and Greg used common sense to make Continental what it is today. I have met and talked to Gordon, and he talks to employees the same way that he wrote the book. While it doesn't give detaliled specifics on what he did and how he did it, this book gives a general overview of what was done to make the employees happy, and in turn make the airline the success that it has become. To those who say the book is repetitive, get over it. There isn't much to say except Continental was bad, and now people are competing to fill open positions. Also Gordon has directed the publisher to direct any royalties that he was going to make to WE CARE, an internal employee emergency assistance fund.
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am 7. Dezember 1998
Bethune makes it clear that a company turnaround requires a lot more than closing facilitities and firing employees (Take that, Chainsaw Al!). It requires a comprehensive plan that includes getting your finances in order, treating your customers right but first treating your employees like valued partners, admitting your mistakes, communicating about everything, involving employees, customers and distributors (e.g., travel agents) in the change process and being willing to make hard choices. The book tells us how Continental did it and those of us who are frequent flyers notice the difference. The main criticism of the book is that it is repetitive, too full of homey stories and a just a bit self-congratulatory (although he is justifibly proud). Our business book club, composed of senior-level human resources professionals, liked the book.
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am 24. August 1998
I had hoped that the book would conver in more detail what was done to bring the airline back from the brink. Yes, we get a lot of soft shoe "we did it as a team", and "we just got honest" stories, but little in the way of how a company with the terrible internal problems Continental had was able to turn employee morale around enough to salvage the wreck. At the time I witnessed what was going on at the airline, violence between mamangement & labor wasn't only threatened, but was expected. Painting planes & paying everyone $65 a month for on-time doesn't change that. I agree with an earlier reviwer- read Jan Carlzons book for a better overview of saving an airline.
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