Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Secrets for Success

I am a frequent flyer with Southwest Airlines and am continually amazed at how they succeed by flying in the face of conventional wisdom. As an example, on my last trip with them I was delighted by the availability of comfy leather chairs in the waiting area as well as marble-topped side tables featuring charging docks for laptops and iPods. Wow, now that is superior customer service!

I also read an insightful article titled “Southwest’s Seven Secrets for Success” in the latest issue of Portfolio magazine. The article articulates the success secrets as: 1) One plane fits all, 2) Point-to-point flying, 3) Simple in-flight service, 4) No frills, no fees, 5) Strong management, 6) A relatively happy workforce and 7) Aggressive fuel hedging. It proves why Southwest is popular and profitable.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Island Time

My wife and I just returned from celebrating our twentieth anniversary in Key West at a bed and breakfast that had no televisions, alarm clocks or telephones in the guest quarters. Fortunately, we did have air conditioning to help us survive the sweltering heat and humidity. Yet not only did we not miss the other accoutrements, but doing without them actually enhanced our overall enjoyment of the island visit.

At such times I am reminded of the pleasure of living by what I call “island time.” While we all may not live on a tropical island year round, simply living in rhythm with the ebb and flow of the ocean tide, we can carry the concept of island time into the stream of our daily lives. Life can even be fun.

We should rule time, not the other way around. And technology is meant to serve us, not become our masters. I must confess that we did peek at our cell phones periodically to check the time and we even indulged ourselves by toting along our iPod portable speaker system to enjoy tunes on the trip. But we left our laptop at home and resisted the fleeting temptation to check email at the local café.