Howard Putnam

Howard Putnam's ultimate objective is bottom line improvement.  He believes that organizations that place their people as their #1 priority have the greatest long-term impact and success.

As the former CEO of the highly successful Southwest Airlines, Howard led the development and implementation of the vision that has guided Southwest to revered heights. Southwest tripled in size and profitability during his tenure, and today, is still a corporate model for organizations that place their employees first.  Howard is also adept at leading companies through adversity as he did so effectively with Braniff Airlines that it became a case study in management and ethics for Harvard University.

ABOUT Howard Putnam   (+/-)

Empowering Employees, Building Success

Howard Putnam is the former CEO of the highly successful Southwest Airlines, whose foundation and culture placed people first. Now the standard for employee satisfaction and low turnover, Howard's practices are implemented in a broad range of industries all over the world.  Currently, Howard is an author, speaker and advisor on business issues, change, leadership and ethics, all of which are explored in his bestselling book The Winds of Turbulence.

Leading Troubled Companies in Turbulent Times

As Chairman and CEO of the financially failing Braniff International, Howard became the first CEO to take a major airline through Chapter 11 successfully. The reorganization was accomplished so efficiently that Harvard University used it as a model and wrote "The Ethics of Bankruptcy," a case study for ethically leading an organization through turbulence.  He is also a founding faculty member of, a distance learning company of world-class business experts.



Leadership: Successful Strategies Through Turbulent Times

Leaders must have a clear and concise vision if they want their organizations to survive and thrive through turbulence. A clear understanding of what business you are really in is critical. Cultures can then be developed to support the vision and business. Bottom line improvement comes through your people. Howard shares his principles of leadership and outlines key strategies to navigate turbulence successfully.

Innovation: Creating a Culture and Process for Ideas to Emerge

Innovation occurs in organizations that embrace a culture for risk taking and idea implementation. Howard Putnam proved this philosophy works when he was CEO of Southwest Airlines. He positioned and organized Southwest for growth and profitability utilizing a very flat management structure with decision-making and idea development imbedded in everyone's job scope and responsibility. Individuals and teams were rewarded for risk taking and for designing out of the box processes and improvements in productivity, customer service, cost containment, safety and profitability. Brands develop when people thrive in the vision and experience.

Change: Transforming Organizations Successfully & Profitably

Many organizations are out of alignment in the current turbulent environment. Their design is outdated with bureaucracy and a hierarchy that is expensive and inefficient. Howard Putnam will show you how to transform your business into a "flow state" organization that is focused, nimble, flexible, cost effective and able to utilize the "stages of turbulence" which he will identify for you to take advantage of being in a change state.

People and Culture: Hiring Attitudes & Developing Their Skills

Successful organizations that are in business for the long term, place their people first if they want sustained bottom line improvement. Howard Putnam led the visioning process at Southwest Airlines in which a key element was the culture, putting their people first and matching attitudes with the culture. Happy employees and superior customer service resulted from this concept. He will share behind-the-scenes looks on how this was accomplished with great stories, humor and concrete ideas and suggestions.

The Ultimate Challenge in Ethics: Are You Really the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are?

Organizations cannot ignore the need for proactive efforts to ingrain honesty, integrity and trust at every level. Today's environment requires ethical leaders, if they want their businesses to survive and grow. Howard Putnam learned the values of trust and honesty as he grew up on an Iowa farm. He has embodied those principles in his successful business career. He took on the challenge of saving Braniff International only to find the "books had been cooked" prior to his arrival. He will share this character building experience of taking a major airline through Chapter 11 successfully and offer a flight plan for you to implement in your organization.