Today’s guest has lived through many challenging leadership moments. His career in aviation began as a baggage handler and he rose through the ranks until he became CEO of an airline, and later was recruited to be CEO of another one. He has also been an entrepreneur and has served as director of several start-up technology companies.

Howard Putnam New BN President - newspaper clippingSpecifically, he is the former CEO of the highly successful Southwest Airlines whose foundation and culture placed people first. Later, when recruited to be the CEO of failing Braniff International, he was the 1st CEO to successfully restructure a major airline into…through, and out of Chapter 11. Earlier he spent over twenty years with United Airlines, his final position being Group VP of Marketing.

He learned along the way that cultures that place “people” as their #1 priority have the greatest long-term impact and success. He has shared his leadership lessons in his book “The Winds of Turbulence” and through a case study Harvard University wrote about his experiences at Braniff International, called “The Ethics of Bankruptcy.”

He is a speaker and advisor on business issues, such as change, leadership, and ethics. His passion for aviation began when he was growing up on an Iowa farm and learned to fly out of a pasture.

Please join me in welcoming Howard Putnam, CSP.

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In this episode we explore:

  • how he defines leadership: “Someone who was willing to stand out in front, take the flack that’s coming at you, and protect your people.”
  • the advice he received from Zig Ziglar as he began his speaking career
  • the dangers of doing too much and living an unbalanced life
  • the importance of remembering that our work has an impact far beyond individual interactions, there is a ripple effect that can have a positive impact on everything in that person’s life
  • his intentionality when it comes to staying in touch with people he used to work with or with whom he shares a passion

Stay tuned until the end of the episode to hear what I thought were the key take-aways you could put into practice this week and benefit from for years to come.


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