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2 Symbolism and Personal Example: Strate... > Be Visible: Let People See You Leadi... - Pg. 41

Symbolism and Personal Example 41 One airline--ranked last in customer service among the ten largest airlines--was stifled with a bureaucratic set of rules that specified every- thing from the color of pencils to be used on boarding passes to the kind of fold used in a sick-day form.The problem was that these rules had tied the hands of airline employees to the point that they had no real discre- tion to solve problems--and they were punished for disobeying the rules. If a plane was canceled, for example, a full-fare passenger might get a hotel room, whereas a next-in-line bargain-fare passenger could get a meal voucher. Naturally, this sort of rigid decision making did little for the company's public image. It also subjected gate agents to the wrath of irate customers, practically making gate agents eligible for hazardous-duty pay. The policy manual--the "Thou Shalt Not Book"--was an icon for this rigid system. To symbolize the need for change, the CEO took a group of employees into the parking lot.They threw the manual into a fifty-five-gallon drum, poured gasoline onto it, and set it afire. By burn- ing the manual, they sent a message to the organization: Do not blindly follow the book--use your ingenuity and do what is right for the com-