Team, Not the Leader, is Key in Service Industry: Lufthansa CEO

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has made a provocative statement about management strategy for a service industry: “I think it’s a team effort to make such a company successful.” He also says that the American “hype” about individuals leading companies is “over.” Spohr describes his work schedule as CEO as 30 percent meetings with front-line staff: pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics. This approach keeps him close to the details of airline service and to the employees who execute them. It also informs Lufthansa’s new efficiency program that reduced costs and produced $852 million in added profit last year. The strategy comes naturally to Spohr: a licensed Airbus pilot for the airline, he is a rare mix of pilot and manager. A close look at Lufthansa’s model might reveal a case study full of positive guidance for all businesses in service industries.

John Howell, Editorial Director