The article describes a remarkable exchange of letters between Irishman Alan Joyce is the CEO of Qantas Airways and 10 year old, Alex Jacquot, the self-appointed CEO of Australia’s newest airline company, Oceania Express.
Alex wrote to Alan Joyce a letter in which he posed a range of questions: “First, being on school holiday, Jacquot wonders what he should be doing as CEO, given he has “more time to work with.”
Second, Jacquot is looking for a few tips on starting an airline, stating, “I’d be very grateful to know what you have to say.”
And third, Jacquot is curious about the Sydney/Melbourne to London flight on the new A350 airplane, and is “having a lot of trouble thinking about sleep.” He wishes for advice from Joyce on what to do for the passengers over the gruelling 25-hour flight.”
Remarkably, Alan Joyce not only took the time to respond but also requested Alex to join him for a strategy session.
“Here’s how the letter opened: Thank you for letting me know about your new airline. I had heard some rumours of another entrant in the market, so I appreciate you taking the time to write. First, I should say that I’m not typically in the business of giving advice to my competitors. Your newly-appointed Head of Legal might have something to say about that, too. But I’m going to make an exception on this occasion because I too was once a young boy who was so curious about flight and all its possibilities.”…
Joyce then invited Jacquot to Qantas headquarters for “a Project Sunrise meeting between myself, as the CEO of Australia’s oldest airline, and you, as the CEO of Australia’s newest airline.”
No word yet on how that meeting between CEOs turned out, but at the very root of this story is Joyce’s touching example of compassion. It’s also a clear-cut example of love-based leadership, something I’m going to be discussing in this column more and more over the coming weeks and months.”
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