Essential reading: SOAR

I’ve just finished reading a self-help book. Those who know me will say this is completely out of character, but it was received as a gift and, well… don’t tell anyone but I must admit it was enjoyable.

The reason for mentioning this is that one of its last chapters promoted the notion of “extraordinary as standard”, and includes a little gem of a quote from Robin Sharma, a Canadian writer and leadership speaker: “People want to be part of an organisation that lets them be fully alive and bring their gifts to work.”

It’s an observation that is perfectly demonstrated in Shashank Nigam’s book SOAR – a look at ‘how the world’s best airline brands delight customers and inspire employees’.

Going beyond the balance sheet, analyst recommendations, and the boardroom – traditional measures of success – SOAR reveals the best practices of seven high-profile airlines, a mix of low-fare and legacy carriers.

soar-bAn intimate portrait of each, Nigam’s 12-plus months of research and hundreds of hours of interviews throws light on their remarkable efforts at developing a unique and lasting brand identity in the ultra-competitive aviation industry. And all through the eyes of the people who made it happen – the employees.

Whether it’s Southwest’s heart-felt culture of family and community, the magical innovation of double APEX Award Winner (personalisation and IFE experience), Air New Zealand (think safety videos, Sky Couch), or the fun and funk that pervades the DNA of South Africa’s kulula, known for its distinctive, brightly coloured and often humorous aircraft livery (one former aircraft was covered with a legend describing the different parts of the aircraft), SOAR shows how airlines can, and are, going beyond the ordinary to create lasting bonds.

SOAR should be on the reading list of everyone in the aviation industry, but be quick. The first print run sold out after only ten days!

As Robert F Kennedy once said, “You’re happiest while you’re making the greatest contribution.” These seven airlines and SOAR certainly prove this point.

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