97. Refer to Urban Legends. Many urban legends are transmitted through the Internet, which could be
described as a(n) ____.
JetBlue Airways has had tremendous success by offering direct flights, low fares, wider leather seats,
satellite TV in every seat and great customer service. Modeled after Southwest Airlines, JetBlue has
the lowest costs in the industry at 6.4 cents per passenger mile. But as its new planes age, its costs will
rise, as will the wages it pays its pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics. With only two successful new
airlines in the last 25 years, the challenge for JetBlue will be to continue its success as it ambitiously
grows from 73 planes and 6,500 employees to 290 planes and 25,000 employees over the next five
years. Key to meeting those goals is solid communication.
As companies like JetBlue grow, managers must be good one-on-one communicators but must
also learn how to communicate effectively with a larger number of people throughout an organization.
This is why JetBlue’s senior managers speak with every new class of employees as they come through
JetBlue’s structured orientation process. On the first day of orientation, they teach the new hires about
JetBlue’s brand and show them how JetBlue earns its money and the role each employee plays in the
Another part of JetBlue’s strategy to communicate and reinforce its organizational culture is a
program called Principles of Leadership (POL). POL is a five-day training program completely taught
by JetBlue’s managers from all levels of the company from the very top to the very bottom. As they
teach, JetBlue’s managers share real world stories that illustrate ways in which company managers and
employees have practiced or violated the five principles of JetBlue’s culture. In general, these stories
demonstrate when it is proper and improper to break company rules to serve customers. For example, a
JetBlue pilot once bought several dozen McDonald’s Happy Meals for the kids on his plane. While
this was a violation of company spending guidelines, buying those Happy Meals adhered to JetBlue’s
cultural principle of “Doing the right thing,” because the plane was stuck on the ground without food,
and the kids on board were hungry.
But effective leaders don’t just communicate to others; they also make themselves accessible so
that they can hear what others, particularly customers and employees, are feeling and thinking about
their organization. At JetBlue, the senior managers uses frequent informal meetings and surprise visits
to listen to customers and employees. On an almost daily basis, senior management can be found on a
JetBlue flight talking to customers. Senior management will typically use the plane’s public address
system to introduce themselves and say that they want to hear any feedback, good or bad, that
passengers have about the airline. Passengers frequently offer advice on where JetBlue should offer
new routes and service, but they also complain about the food, meaning the lack of it (just cookies,
snacks, and biscotti). Most importantly, the culture of senior management is to listen, write down
thoughts and customer comments and turn this information into the organizational to-do’s once the
flight is over.