It’s Not Enough to Keep Your Eye on the Ball…

It’s got to be the right ball! Check out this article about the CEO of Ryanair from Terry Paulson’s Message of Mastery and Mirth e-mail newsletter…

Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, isn’t known for holding back: “I’m just a small, loud-mouthed Irish guy running the lowest-fare airline in Europe. We are what we are. Our corporate results are the barometer of our success. Comparing management styles is for the Muppets who write management books. I’m focusing on our business, not my management style. There are three signs when things are starting to go wrong in a company: The CEO announces new headquarters, buys a helicopter and then writes a ‘how to’ book. These are three signs of somebody taking their eyes off the ball.”

While recently providing leadership programs in the UK and Brussels, I was able to read insights from some top European leaders. Just like Southwest Airlines in the states, Ryanair is a budget airline that can teach us all important lessons about giving customers what they want. Ryanair has developed a valid business model to deliver a lot of customer value – They attract customers of all ages and occupations in search of cheap, simple air travel from point A to point B. Ryanair is hugely successful, but it still gets complaints regarding their bare-bones service. Those complaints don’t phase Mr. O’Leary. He asserts that customers whine because they refuse to ‘read the Ryanair label.’ They fantasize about what they would like Ryanair to be, but the budget airline keeps its focus totally clear! Ryanair offers the lowest airfare, with safe and normally on-time service. That’s it! It works because O’Leary keeps his airline focused in delivering only that. His eyes are squarely on the right ball!

Know what you are and what you are not! Don’t chase unprofitable tangents. Never let complacency and pride stall strategic growth and progress. What is the ball your team should be focused on? Work to keep your focus where it belongs.