Monday, February 4, 2008
Food for thought on suggestion boxes
I was killing time at a used book store on saturday and bought a cheap copy of Nuts!, a book on how Southwest Airlines is driven by innovation. There was a blurb on suggestion boxes that I would like to share here: "One of our managers mentioned to me that he wanted to put up a suggestion box. I responded by saying, 'Sure--why don't you put up a suggestion box right here on this wall and then admit that you are a failure as a manager?' Our theory is, is you have to put up a box so people can write down their ideas and toss them in, it means that you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing. you are supposed to be setting your people up to be winners. To do that, you should be there listening to them and available to them in person, not via a suggestion box...I think that most people employed here know that they can call any one of our vice presidents on the telephone and get heard, almost immediately." The book then goes on to say that at Southwest, managers are expected to spend a minimum of 1/3 of their time walking around. That's exactly what the NHA and DON need to do.