The CEO Of Continental Airlines Tells You How To Budget Your Time

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In an interview with the New York Times, Continental Airlines CEO Lawrence Kellner shared some managerial wisdom he’s picked up over the years:

  • Keep your to-do list short and sweet: “I started coming to work and saying, “O.K., what are the three most important things I need to do today?” And I’m going to rank them 1-2-3. And if No. 1 is a 12-hour task, then I’ll just spend all day working on it.”
  • Make sure your employees are comfortable giving you bad news: “I mean if somebody unscheduled pops up to my office, the odds are they’ve got a piece of good news and they’re eager to share it. But when something is going wrong, they have to feel they can flag it as quickly as when it’s going right, so that you can shift the organisation and try to solve the problem.”
  • Don’t trust interviews, trust your network: “What I’ve found is that step one is, “O.K., have I worked with somebody who could fill this job who’s really good?” Because I’ve found my success rate is dramatically higher going that route. If not, the second step is to widen the net to people who I trust, and look for people they’ve worked with. Our third net is we try to find somebody we know and trust who knows the person we’re thinking of hiring.”

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