Do the Right Thing: How Dedicated Employees Create Loyal Customers and Large Profits (paperback)

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Pearson Prentice Hall, Nov 29, 2007 - Business & Economics - 288 pages

The #1 Principle of Sustainable Business Success Is Simpler Than You Think

Do the Right Thing is about how any company can stay true to its soul. Jim Parker’s deep and abiding belief in the power of people and culture in building a business of lasting worth is evident everywhere; so too is his humility and selflessness as a leader--his stories are not about his own achievements, which are many, but those of the people he led, one of the great success stories of our time.”

--Sean Moriarty, CEO, Ticketmaster

Do the Right Thing offers insightful views into the culture, leadership, and decisions that build great companies the right way. A must read for my management team. THIS BOOK ROCKS.”

--Kent Taylor, Founder and Chairman, Texas Roadhouse Restaurants

“The book is a fun read filled with memorable stories that get at the heart of what it takes to lead in a way that simultaneously satisfies employees, customers, and shareholders. Jim Parker plays the role of eloquent detective and ferrets out the interweaving parts that distributed leadership, culture, values, and teamwork play as the underlying layers of a company’s success. This is a book about heroes at all levels and the environment needed to create those heroes. A must-read for today’s leaders.”

--Professor Deborah Ancona, Seley Distinguished Professor of Management and Faculty Director of the MIT Leadership Center,
Sloan School of Management

“You’ll laugh and cry reading Jim’s book, and probably won’t be able to put it down. It will forever change the way you view the employees in your organization.”

--Beverly K. Carmichael, Member, Board of Directors,
Society for Human Resource Management

People matter most.

You know that. But most companies would rather slash costs, cut headcount, replace well-paid employees with lower-paid employees or outsourced workers, and reduce customer service. No wonder so many fail–while others focused on doing the right thing remain profitable and growth oriented for decades. James F. Parker shows why “doing the right thing” isn’t just na´ve “feel-goodism:” it’s the most powerful rule for business success. Parker’s stories won’t just convince you: They’ll move you. Na´ve? No way. In this book, Southwest Airlines’ former CEO proves why doing what’s right is the #1 rule of business success. James F. Parker tells how after 9/11, Southwest made three pivotal decisions: no layoffs, no pay cuts, and no-hassle refunds for any customer wanting them. The result: Southwest remained profitable and its revenue passenger miles for 4Q01 held steady while the rest of its industry nearly collapsed...and Southwest’s market cap soon exceeded all its major competitors combined. These pivotal decisions grew naturally from Southwest’s culture of mutual respect and trust. Parker offers deeply personal insights into that culture, revealing how those same principles are used by other people and organizations, showing you that it’s really not that hard to Do The Right Thing!

  • Why doing what’s right is the surest way to optimize and sustain value
  • Putting people first...honestly, for real
  • Finding great leaders at every level of the organization
  • Hiring for attitude, training for skills
  • Achieving unprecedented levels of teamwork (and fun!)

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I really enjoyed this book! I thought it might be boring and hard to read, but it was neither.
The author repeated the same few points many times throughout the book, but the many stories breaking
it up made the book interesting. I also liked that he made the points simple and didn't use big terms. 

Selected pages


Chapter 1 Stumbling into the Business World
Chapter 2 911
Chapter 3 The Question Was Answered
Chapter 4 But I Dont Want to Be a Corporate Bureaucrat
Chapter 5 Getting Off the Ground
Chapter 6 The TenMinute Turnaround
Chapter 7 The Great Texas Whiskey War
Chapter 24 People Need to Understand Their Mission
Chapter 25 Shared Goals Shared Knowledge and Mutual Respect A Shared Mission
Chapter 26 Do People Think Like Employees or Owners?
Chapter 27 Making Employees Owners
Chapter 28 A Sense of Ownership
Chapter 29 Make Work Fun
Chapter 30 Build a Customer Service Culture
Chapter 31 Everything He Did Was So I Could Come to Work

Chapter 8 I Just Couldnt Resist
Chapter 9 Some of the Obvious Things I Learned
Chapter 10 Were in What Kind of Business?
Chapter 11 With a Little Help from Our Competitors
Chapter 12 Leaders Are Everywhere
Chapter 13 Great Organizations Have Great Leaders at Every Level
Chapter 14 In Case You Didnt Get It Great Organizations Have Great Leaders at Every Level
Chapter 15 Great Leaders Make the People Around Them Better
Chapter 16 People Recognize a Phony
Chapter 17 People Follow a Leader They Trust
Chapter 18 Who Wants the Best People?
Chapter 19 Looking for the Right People
Chapter 20 Interview for Attitude
Chapter 21 Attitudes Also Matter at 30000 Feet
Chapter 22 Everybody Remembers Their Interview
Chapter 23 Every Job Affects Others
Chapter 32 Fun Can Have a Purpose
Chapter 33 Celebrate Success and Achievement
Chapter 34 Creating Entrepreneurs
Chapter 35 Encourage Unconventional Thinking
Chapter 36 Suggestion Boxes
Chapter 37 Many Roads Lead to the Promised Land
Chapter 38 Define the Right Goals and Give People Room to Succeed
Chapter 39 The TwoMinute Drill
Chapter 40 Give People Something to Believe InDefine a Grand Mission
Chapter 41 Create a Culture in Which People Want to Do the Right Things
Chapter 42 Its a Family Affair
Chapter 43 The Tactics of Success May Vary but the Principles Are Constant
Chapter 44 Be Yourself and Have Some Fun
Chapter 45 Its a Round World

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About the author (2007)

James F. Parker served as CEO and vice chairman of the board of Southwest Airlines from June 2001 through July 2004, three of the airline industry’s most challenging years. During Parker’s tenure as CEO, Southwest Airlines was named one of America’s three most admired companies, one of America’s 100 best corporate citizens, one of the world’s most socially responsible companies, and worldwide airline of the year. Parker’s proudest accomplishment, however, comes from the fact that Southwest was the only major airline to protect the jobs of all its employees, while also remaining profitable after 9/11. He is a member of the MIT Leadership Center Advisory Council at the MIT Sloan School of Management. A lawyer by trade, he spent fifteen years as General Counsel of Southwest Airlines before being selected to lead the company. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Texas Roadhouse, Inc.

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