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Jasenka Rapajic

Founder at Astute Aviation

London, United Kingdom

Founder of Astute Aviation. Specialising in modern approach to airline management based on broad and deep understanding of airline and industry issues built on diverse, hands-on experience spanning strategic, network, schedule, and operations planning, gained within network, low cost and charter airlines and within an airline software company. Founder of an airline software company (winner of UK Department of Trade and Industry SMART award for innovation). Author of 'Beyond Airline Disruptions - 1st edition' and 'Beyond Airline Disruptions - Thinking and Managing Anew, 2nd edition' . Blogs at 'Beyond Disruptions'.

Available For: Advising, Authoring, Consulting, Influencing, Speaking
Travels From: London, UK
Speaking Topics: Reinventing decision making in airline industry

Speaking Fee $3,000

Jasenka RapajicPoints
Academic0
Author151
Influencer0
Speaker6
Entrepreneur20
Total177

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Individual
Email: jasenka@astuteaviation.com
Business Unit: -
Theatre: -
Media Experience: -

Areas of Expertise

Business Strategy 37.39
Change Management 30.11
COVID19 30.58
Culture 34.96
Customer Experience 30.12
Customer Loyalty 30.48
Digital Disruption 30.14
Emerging Technology 31.44
Entrepreneurship
Future of Work
Innovation 33.95
Leadership 34.18
Lean Startup
Management 31.01
Mergers and Acquisitions 30.31
Risk Management 30.78
Digital Transformation 30.04

Industry Experience

Travel & Transportation

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Publications

27 Article/Blogs
To Merge, Or Not To Merge, That Is The Question
Jasenka Rapajic
February 26, 2021
While decisions about whether or not airline mergers are an existential necessity are still in the air, it's time to take a deeper look at their shadow side, to understand how they touch the lives of employees and passengers, and what is their impact on cost and service quality.

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Tags: Leadership, Business Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions

What It Needs To Align Strategies With Operational Capabilities And Why It Is Important
Jasenka Rapajic
February 03, 2021
Leaders and strategists are faced with an ultimate challenge: how much, when, and where to start increasing operation at time of extreme uncertainty and growing indebtedness.
There will be lots of experimenting and testing and with it a high dependency on operational feedback to validate such decisions and act swiftly to avoid prolonged exposure to losses.

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Innovation, Business Strategy

Which diagnostic approach and tool do you use to determine the state of health of your organisation? Are you a specialist or a Sage?
Jasenka Rapajic
January 30, 2021
Whenever faced with a hard-to-answer question, I look for analogies. In this case I found the following quote from Fritjof Capra's book 'The Turning Point' inspirational and would like to share it with you.

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Tags: Culture, Business Strategy

What Airline Passengers Really Want
Jasenka Rapajic
January 22, 2021
It is obviously not easy to understand what passengers really want if airlines cannot guarantee that their flight will depart on time and that they won’t arrive to their destination overstressed, no matter the price they paid for their journey.

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Tags: Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty

Is it better having a big bag of dots or a handful of insights?
Jasenka Rapajic
January 06, 2021
Choosing which way to go once market starts recovering will be a tricky business. Old habits of collecting data from disconnected sources and interpreting them subjectively won’t work this time. We are entering the era insights needed to connect and interpret the data as objectively as possible while narrowing the focus on things that matter.

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Tags: Culture, Innovation, Management

Airline Leadership: The Way Forward
LinkedIn
January 04, 2021
It is now certain that things we cannot control will take some time to settle. As much as it is not easy to live with uncertainty, this time gap is giving us an opportunity to adapt to new ways of thinking about our work. As we have already experienced, the way we used to define strategies, to plan and make decisions, will no longer work. We are dependent on feedback from the real world for which we found ourselves unprepared.

See publication

Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

The Way Forward
Jasenka Rapajic, Astute Aviation
December 30, 2020
It is now certain that things we cannot control will take some time to settle. As much as it is not easy to live with uncertainty, this time gap is giving us an opportunity to adapt to new ways of thinking about our work. As we have already experienced, the way we used to define strategies, to plan and make decisions will no longer work. We are dependent on feedback from the real world for which we found ourselves unprepared.

The thing is that we have to find our own way out of this crisis. There is a lot of great advice around on what and why we need to change. But what is really missing is HOW to do that amidst the heightened state of uncertainty and complexity that have, to a lesser extent, always been a part of the airline business. So, the question is how to build a more resilient organisation that can survive the forthcoming adversities?

The answer is actually relatively simple...

See publication

Tags: Management, Leadership, Business Strategy

Furloughs and Layoffs - the Southwest Airlines Way
Beyond Airline Disruptions
October 07, 2020

Gary Kelly, chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines Co., outlined steps Monday the company plans to take in attempt to prevent furloughs and layoffs through 2021.

Back in July, Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) committed to no furloughs or layoffs through the end of 2020. The fate of the Southwest's employees beyond this year was unknown...

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Tags: Leadership, Risk Management, Business Strategy

'The Pike Syndrome' Revisited
Jasenka Rapajic
October 04, 2020
A dark cloud is hanging over the airline industry. 'Extreme uncertainty' coupled with 'complexity' have become words that keep many paralyzed and even content with old habits that offer them security, however false.

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Tags: Business Strategy

Risk vs Uncertainty and How to Make Better Predictions
Blog Beyond Airline Disruptions
September 27, 2020
When faced with unprecedented uncertainty, we need to find ways to make our predictions more reliable. This assumes understanding the difference between risk and uncertainty. Companies that can make this distinction usually perform better than others. In practical terms, they are more capable of narrowing the gap between plans and reality and can tolerate uncertainty with greater ease.

So what is the difference between risk and uncertainty?

I am reposting my blog published in 2014 because it is more relevant today than at time when it was originally written.

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Tags: Management, Risk Management

A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making
Jasenka Rapajic
August 30, 2020
If you are a leader at any level struggling to understand why your best intended decisions don’t work as expected, the chances are that you are mixing up the contexts in which you are making these decisions.

You certainly know that your actions depend on the situation, and that you can make better decisions by adapting your approach to changing circumstances. The question is which approach to use in a particular situation to avoid making the wrong decision when faced with systemic complexity and extreme uncertainty?

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Tags: Business Strategy, Leadership

What can be learned from the sustainable success of Southwest Airlines that retained its superior investment-grade ratings in times of extreme uncertainty
Jasenka Rapajic
August 19, 2020
Southwest Airlines, Ryanair, and easyJet are the only three airlines that retained investment-grade ratings from S&P Global Ratings, after the credit rating agency downgraded a host of carriers and slowed the pace of its air travel recovery forecast. In a report published last week, S&P analysts said that superior ratings come from the low-cost model, “robust liquidity”, and greater relative exposure to healthier short-haul and leisure markets.

What these kind of ratings don’t tell us is that the superior ratings come mostly from immeasurable values which are beyond hard facts, things that drive sustainable growth and success, like leadership, culture, relationships with employees and passengers.

This is what the unwavering success of Southwest is made of. Unlike any other airline, it has been profitable every single year between 1972 and 2019, and this year it tops the league of the most successful airlines in times of extreme uncertainty.

Let's share some powerful insights of Herb Kelleher, ex CEO and co-founder of Southwest Airlines...

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Tags: Business Strategy, Culture, Customer Loyalty

Connect and Collaborate to Disrupt Disruptions
Astute Aviation Consulting
July 27, 2020
The profile of operational disruptions is changing. This time they are dominated by frequent strategic adjustments resulting in unknown, yet avoidable losses generated by slow and often less than appropriate response to changes in market demand. So far, the way we used to connect and collaborate to reduce disruptions haven't been successful and this needs to change.

The question is, how can we reinvent collaboration and become the co-creators of the new connected, resilient organisation where strategy and operations become closely linked? What is the role of people and technology in making this happen?

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Tags: Customer Loyalty, Leadership, Management

The Leadership Challenge: How To Survive Indebtedness, The Next Pandemic Hurdle For Airlines
Beyond Airline Disruptions
June 14, 2020
Only a few months ago airlines stepped into 2020 ready to be bigger and better than their competitors, buy more fuel efficient aircraft, fly more - even to busiest airports, carry more passengers with more seats in the cabin, increase retail revenue to compensate for higher costs of their operation, and hope for a more profitable year ahead. No one could have imagined that only a few months later the COVID pandemic would bring the system to a halt and that the magnitude of the current crisis would be set to leave a big mark on the future of air travel.

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Tags: Leadership, Risk Management, Business Strategy, COVID19

Can Bridging The Gap Between Theory And Practice Speed Up Collaborative Decision Making at Busiest World Airports?
linkedin
December 28, 2019
My interview with Sergio Martins, Director Air Traffic Management - Latin America, Saab Group

Major hub airports are running out of capacity needed to meet the growing demand for air travel, and many others are facing the same problem at their busiest times. And still, traffic growth at capacity constrained airports continues, accelerating the risks of disruptions with far reaching consequences on airlines, passengers, environment, and on the safety of air travel. In these circumstances, easing this problem means either limiting the volume of traffic to manageable levels (doesn’t seem feasible in the foreseeable future), waiting for strategic adjustments to take place, or freeing up some airport capacities by improving efficiency in decision making on the day of operations.

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Tags: Emerging Technology, Innovation, Management

Why Do Airlines Burn Money Every Day? What They Can Learn From Formula 1 Racing Teams
linkedin
October 28, 2019
Jasenka Rapajic in conversation with Daniel Stecher, VP Airline Operations, IBS Software

Astute Aviation Consulting - Insightful Interviews

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Tags: Emerging Technology, Management, Business Strategy

What is wrong with regulation EC261? Who is really responsible for its enforcement? Why is it disliked by both airlines and passengers?
linkedin
September 19, 2019
How much we can learn from it about how the system works, what doesn’t work, and what to do to about it?

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Tags: Emerging Technology, Management, Business Strategy

If You Think You Understand Airline Costs, Think Twice
linkedin
July 22, 2019
Did you know that analysts claim that every year 2 trillion dollars is wasted globally due to poor implementation of strategy? The question is how big is the share of the airline industry, and what is it that drives the poor implementation of strategy, pretty visible through increased disruptiveness of air travel and unexplainable rise in costs?

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Tags: Digital Disruption, Innovation, Business Strategy

Why airlines should invest more in schedule slacks
Jasenka Rapajic, Astute Aviation Consulting
June 16, 2019
In times of extreme uncertainty investing more in schedule slacks can make the difference between success and failure. Here is why...

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Tags: Business Strategy, Change Management, Risk Management

How to Switch from Legacy to Systems Thinking and Make the Work Really Work for Airlines and Passengers
Astute Aviation Consulting
December 20, 2017
I had a great privilege to interview John Seddon, a rare system thinker and practitioner who proved that by managing organisation as a system can bring profound improvements in areas of revenue, cost, customer service, employee morale and capacity to innovate.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Change Management, Culture

Is Airline Hubbing At Low-Fare-Low-Quality Sustainable? Are easyJet and British Airways Testing the Limits of Passenger Tolerance?
linkedin
July 21, 2017
When a low fare airline chose to set its main base at one of the most congested world airports, and a major legacy airline based at one of the most congested world airports starts offering low-fare services to its customers, it doesn’t need think tanks to say that they have chosen a very risky path ahead. These are the paths of two major carriers: the low fare easyJet ('big@Gatwick'), and a legacy, Heathrow based British Airways, aspiring to bring lower fares to its customers.

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Tags: Management, Business Strategy

The La-la Life of Delays - Isn’t It High Time to Rethink Flight Delays and Reinvent Their Role in Aviation Management?
linkedin
June 24, 2017
Flight delays live in La-La land, way off from real world. In La-La land things look rosier. In La-La land of delays it is possible to...

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Business Strategy

Are Airline Megamergers Becoming United in Losing Passengers They Can No Longer Afford to Serve? Does This Explain the Doctor Dao Story?
linkedin
April 25, 2017
On Sunday 9th April Doctor Dao, United Airlines’ passenger, was violently dragged out from his seat just before the departure of his flight UA3411 from Chicago to Louisville. He was chosen to leave the plane against his will to make room for four unexpected employees of a partner airline who needed to get to Louisville by Monday morning to crew another flight. United originally characterized the flight as overbooked, but later said that was (obviously) not the case.

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Tags: Digital Disruption, Management, Mergers and Acquisitions

Do You Really Understand Your Business?
linkedin
April 04, 2017
Every decision we make shapes our future and future of our organisation. We may not be aware of this because we are conditioned by traditional practices which are obscuring our views of interconnected reality. The bigger and more complex our company, the less competent we become, and our business more vulnerable to even the smallest unforeseen disturbances. We are suffering from the pike syndrome.

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Tags: Risk Management, Business Strategy

A Time for Thought About Airport Congestion
linkedin
January 28, 2017
Is it time to soften these borders and improve the 'end product'?

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Tags: Business Strategy

Can a Bit Of Southwest’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Help European Airlines Rise Above Challenges Linked To Airport Capacity Constraints?
linkedin
January 17, 2017
In his recent CNBC interview, the current CEO of Southwest Airlines Gary Kelly described the ingredients of company’s ‘secret sauce’ to competitiveness as follows:

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Tags: Culture, HR, Business Strategy

The Disruptive Nature of Regulation EC/261
linkedin
April 26, 2016
Can responsibility for passenger compensation be more equally shared among those responsible for flight delays?

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Tags: Customer Experience, Digital Disruption

2 Books
Beyond Airline Disruptions - Thinking and Managing Anew
Routledge, Taylor & Francis
December 14, 2018
Flight disruptions continue to thrive unnoticed, invisibly eroding airline profitability and causing growing passenger dissatisfaction. This is especially critical at airports where traffic expansion outstrips airport capacities. Hampered by legacy information systems, management practices and organisational detachments, decision makers across the industry have little or no understanding of the multiple causes of disruptions and their implications. Consequently, their actions are focused on resolving local problems without being synchronised at system level. As problematic as they are, disruptions create opportunities for learning about system interactions, a solid and appropriate foundation for resolving complex industry issues.

Beyond Airline Disruptions explains how airlines can become more competitive by utilising unexplored potential for gradual, consistent and measurable improvements, centred around cost and quality of operational performance. It describes practical methods and techniques essential for turning these ideas into daily practices.

This second, revised edition features updated content that introduces a fresh approach to airline management and decision making, more in line with future industry needs. It bridges the gaps between strategy and operations and inspires collaboration between airlines, airports, ATC, service providers and regulators to bring longer-lasting benefits not only for industry participants and passengers, but also for the economy, society and the environment.

See publication

Tags: Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Beyond Airline Disruptions Thinking and Managing Anew, 2nd Edition
Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
December 14, 1998
Flight disruptions continue to thrive unnoticed, invisibly eroding airline profitability and causing growing passenger dissatisfaction. This is especially critical at airports where traffic expansion outstrips airport capacities. Hampered by legacy information systems, management practices and organisational detachments, decision makers across the industry have little or no understanding of the multiple causes of disruptions and their implications. Consequently, their actions are focused on resolving local problems without being synchronised at system level. As problematic as they are, disruptions create opportunities for learning about system interactions, a solid and appropriate foundation for resolving complex industry issues.

Beyond Airline Disruptions explains how airlines can become more competitive by utilising unexplored potential for gradual, consistent and measurable improvements, centred around cost and quality of operational performance. It describes practical methods and techniques essential for turning these ideas into daily practices.

This second, revised edition features updated content that introduces a fresh approach to airline management and decision making, more in line with future industry needs. It bridges the gaps between strategy and operations and inspires collaboration between airlines, airports, ATC, service providers and regulators to bring longer-lasting benefits not only for industry participants and passengers, but also for the economy, society and the environment.

See publication

Tags: Business Strategy, Culture, Leadership

1 Founder
Astute Aviation
A S T U T E A V I A T I O N
January 02, 2007
​I am Jasenka Rapajic, founder of Astute Aviation with diverse, hands-on experience spanning strategic, network, schedule, and operations planning, gained within network, low cost and charter airlines and within an airline software company. My quest for creating closer links between strategy and operations inspired me to found an airline software company (winner of UK Department of Trade and Industry SMART award for innovation) and write a book 'Beyond Airline Disruptions - 1st edition' and 'Beyond Airline Disruptions - Thinking and Managing Anew, 2nd edition'. I blog at 'Beyond Airline Disruptions'.

See publication

Tags: Emerging Technology, Innovation, Business Strategy

2 Speaking Engagements
Connect and Collaborate to Disrupt Disruptions
IBS Software
August 04, 2020
The profile of operational disruptions is changing. This time they are dominated by frequent strategic adjustments resulting in unknown, yet avoidable losses generated by slow and often less than appropriate response to changes in market demand. So far, the way we used to connect and collaborate to reduce disruptions haven't been successful and this needs to change.

The question is, how can we reinvent collaboration and become the co-creators of the new connected, resilient organisation where strategy and operations become closely linked? What is the role of people and technology in making this happen?

See publication

Tags: Innovation, Leadership

Connect and Collaborate to Disrupt Disruptions
IBS Software
April 08, 2020
I was talking about how we can better connect and collaborate to disrupt both strategic and operational disruptions. I sincerely thank Daniel for the opportunity.

I explained what it takes to establish the missing links between strategy and operations, the process that engages people from around organisation to resolve the complex, real-life problems, and a new role of technology to make this happen.

The process revolves around Opportunity Scanning technique that combines near real time data and insights essential for validating strategies. It also helps with understanding the emerging patterns that need concerted action to prevent avoidable losses.

See publication

Tags: Business Strategy, Culture

1 Webinar
Connect and Collaborate to Disrupt Disruptions
Astute Aviation Consulting
July 27, 2020
The profile of operational disruptions is changing. This time they are dominated by frequent strategic adjustments resulting in unknown, yet avoidable losses generated by slow and often less than appropriate response to changes in market demand. So far, the way we used to connect and collaborate to reduce disruptions haven't been successful and this needs to change.

The question is, how can we reinvent collaboration and become the co-creators of the new connected, resilient organisation where strategy and operations become closely linked? What is the role of people and technology in making this happen?

See publication

Tags: Customer Loyalty, Leadership, Management

Radar

Blog

1 Article/Blog
The Connected Airline: Rising Above Complexity
Thinkers360
May 16, 2021

In times of unprecedented uncertainty, airline leaders find it hard to adapt to the new circumstances. To survive the crisis, airlines need new approaches that will make strategy and operations work in sync. Pandemic caused reduction in airline activities have created an opportunity to lay the foundation for a more adaptable, resilient organisation, conscious of complexities and its own capabilities to sustain forthcoming challenges.  

Making the most of this opportunity requires a shift in perception of what planning and strategizing is about, with focus leaning towards emergent, context-related problems. It requires rising above limitations imposed by organisational structures and management practices and engaging collective intelligence when making decisions that require constant adjustments in a continuously changing environment. 

If we can create a space, a platform where people around the airline can continually find ways to improve locally whilst being keenly aware of the company's goals, we will improve the odds of our airlines thriving in good and in difficult times. Along the way, much will be learnt - mostly from experience.

As Eric Ries said, under conditions of high uncertainty, learning is the most vital function. We must learn the truth about which elements of our strategy are working, and which are not. This is more to the point, more accurate and faster than classical business planning. 

The question is, what does it take to bring this new process to life?  

On practice

Due to its dynamic nature, the work on system improvement has to take place on neutral territory, a space through which information about system dysfunctions can flow naturally, creating the feeling of connectedness and belonging. This neutral platform engages the whole organisation. People gather to resolve problems experienced in real life, seen from different perspectives. In doing this, they develop a deeper understanding of their shared purpose – to serve passengers and improve their experience - no matter how far from the passengers their work may seem to be.  This is not about who, but what has caused the system to underperform, which eliminates the blame culture. 

This approach requires a shift in management attention: from looking at sum totals and averages of disconnected financial and operational data that only surface the problem areas, to understanding the underlying causes of things that didn’t work as expected. This is an essential prerequisite for narrowing the gap between what we wanted to achieve and what we actually delivered. 

On process

There are two essential steps for making this process effective. 

Firstly, we have to narrow the focus onto the most disruptive events – usually ones that disproportionately ripple across the network. They are often hidden behind ‘reactionary causes’ dissociated from their origins, those that have the highest impact on cost and passenger experience.

Secondly, we need to identify intangible causes of these events guided by narratives of people involved in the processes – starting with operations control and then, depending on the situation, involving operations planners, ground services, service suppliers, scheduling, network, strategic and commercial planners, customer relations or other relevant functions.

Identifying the multiple, interrelated causes is the most important stage in this process. It makes the interconnections between data, people and processes visible and measurable and reveals the bottlenecks in the flow of work and information.

Successful outcome of these collaborative gatherings depends on skilled facilitators, ‘boundary-spanners’ – people with multidisciplinary knowledge and diverse experiences who are able to move freely between operations and senior management, translating the requirements of each into a language and behaviour that is acceptable to, and understandable by the others. The role of a facilitator is to establish ‘experience bridges’ that link people, information and process, and accelerate progress through the development of a shared understanding of problems affecting the overall performance. 

Each of the collaborative gatherings organised by boundary-spanners results in a call to action presented in relational action maps where interdependencies between departments and flow of work become visible and easier to understand and revisit while measuring progress. This process can be described as an initial phase of transition towards a new breed of organisation, where work flows naturally and flaws are easy to notice and act upon at early stages. This is the way towards truly adaptive organisations.

On new role of technology 

The whole process is dependent on the use of the right technology. 

The innovative role of technology is to ease the access to information resulting from numerous interactions by visualising the results. Spotting the pain points in need of action, and monitoring progress in such a complex context are challenges beyond the capability of a single human mind.

Current perception of the role of technology focuses on serving individual functions. Here, the technology company doesn’t just sell the “product” - the software - but service.

To make the most of technology, experts on both sides need to work together for as long as necessary to make sure that this new integrative process works successfully. 

On culture

What is important here is that the whole process changes culture, which is the most complex issue of all, most difficult to influence, and is a crucial part of an airlines’ success or failure. It is a culture of connectedness, feeling of belonging and taking part in contributing to reaching the higher goals.

Before he co-founded the Southwest Airlines, the most successful airline in history, Herb Kelleher asked himself: ‘What if you could build a company that is as human as the human beings in it? What if you could create a culture that inspires passionate people to come to work fully awake, fully engaged, firing on all cylinders because they know they are doing epic work?’ He went on to make this a reality. 

There are no recipes, but you can give this a try.

See blog

Tags: Culture, Innovation, Leadership

Opportunities

2 Businesss
Post-COVID transformation in strategic planning and decison making in airline industry

Location: London, UK or virtual    Date Available: July 23rd, 2020    Fees: Per request

Submission Date: May 19th, 2020    Service Type: Service Offered

Help airlines and transportation companies to introduce the Reality Check phase and Opportunity Scans technique during strategic and planning processes adjusted for the post-COVID world. This inspires systems thinking at time of extreme uncertainty.
The method is a part of the framework for decision making in complex and dynamic organisations. Basics are described in my book "Beyond Airline Disruptions - Thinking and Managing Anew".

Respond to this opportunity

Bridging the gap between strategy and operations in airline industry

Location: London     Date Available: January 08th, 2020    Fees: To be discussed

Submission Date: January 08th, 2020    Service Type: Service Offered

Introduces the missing Reality Check phase in decision making processes at system level with focus on interconnections between strategy and operations. It engages people throughout organisation to discuss and suggests the solutions for resolving the critical real life problems.

Respond to this opportunity

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Jasenka Rapajic