A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

Big Things in Small Packages

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anyone who has travelled via air a bit could probably tell you about, or perhaps even recite to you, the “script” that flight attendants use for “pre-flight” things such as emergency procedures, benefits of flying on that particular airline, rules during the flight, etc. Or maybe they can’t because, honestly, they tune these announcements out because they are dry, monotonous recitations of what they believe is self-explanatory information.

Southwest Airlines has certainly set the standard for demonstrating “fun” during these “scripts” while still communicating the obligatory information. However, a Ravn Alaska employee recently exceeded any such “standard” on my recent flight from Anchorage to Kodiak…and not just because she had fun while making her announcements, but because her positive approach to her work continued throughout the flight.


This flight attendant, who was about 4’11’ in stature but over 6′ in presence, ensured we all knew about safety. She was successful in getting even the seasoned veterans to open the safety card and pay attention to how the exit doors and floatation devices work.

This proud employee believed in the benefits of flying Ravn, a small locally owned and operated airline, and made sure we knew how Ravn was special and uniquely Alaskan. She communicated to us her appreciation for our business and for helping this airline succeed.

This kind agent demonstrated empathy and compassion for those on the flight who were new to Alaska or Kodiak. She comforted those who were anxious about the rough weather or were sad for leaving family or friends. She encouraged those who were trying something new and welcomed those who were returning home.

This individual wasn’t intrusive, she wasn’t a busy body, and she wasn’t overly “maternal.” She was just kind, interested and helpful. The result was a fantastic flight, regardless of the weather, the delays and the lack of diet coke on the plane!  Who cares about any of that when you know your flight attendant cares about you?

My Ravn Alaska experience left me wondering about how I treat my customers.

I know I’m kind and I know I’m helpful but do I really show I care about them?

When there are lots of them, how do I personalize my service?

When they are, in my opinion, too needy or too unreasonable, do I let my frustration show?

When I am rushed or otherwise distracted, does my service to them suffer?


When all is said and done, does my customer know I need, want and appreciate them?


I am sad to report I don’t know the answer to these questions. Of course I hope my answers would all be positive but I can’t be sure.


I fear I have let “great service” take a back seat to “good enough” service.

I fear I have “excused” myself more often than not.

I fear I have allowed selfishness to seep into service.


We can all benefit from a reminder from time to time…a little somepin’ somepin’ to encourage us to better serve others. My reminder came in the form of a itsy bitsy woman with a big ole’ heart and healthy attitude.


What about you…do you need a reminder?


AppreciationCustomer ServiceEmployee EngagementEmployee RelationsHappinessHuman ResourcesPerformance ManagementValueWorkforce Satisfaction

Heather Kinzie • November 11, 2014

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