Troy Mortier from Unsplash - Customer Service Starts With The Qantas CEO by Craig Johns

Customer Service Starts With The Qantas CEO

Soheb Zaidi from Unsplash - Customer Service Starts With The Qantas CEO by Craig Johns

Customer service starts with the QANTAS CEO

By Craig Johns

How does the incumbent Qantas CEO approach a plane that has lost both engines?

When public confidence has reached rock bottom and the culture of the organisation is beyond rust repair, how does a leader restart the engines and have them firing on all cylinders? People are our greatest priority. It seems like Alan Joyce has led Qantas via the old saying “people are our greatest assets” and approached both customers and employees as a line on the balance sheet rather than humans.

As the old English proverb says, the fish always rots from the head and  it is clear to see that Alan Joyce may have overstayed his time in the cockpit. When a company goes through severe turbulence how do we ensure that it takes off and lands safely each day?

Marcus Reubenstein from Unsplash - Customer Service Starts With The Qantas CEO by Craig Johns

The Challenges of Employing Internally Work?

The challenge will be that someone from QANTAS has been anointed CEO by the current board and possibly the current CEO Joyce himself. Is Vanessa Hudson going to be able to bring a fresh approach after being in Qantas for 29 years and being part of the most recent executive team? 

How easy will it be for her to build rapport, gain buy in and establish the trust and respect necessary to bring everyone in Qantas together as one united company? With her experience across a range of areas of finance, inflight services, products and customer service, there might be a chance.

What power dynamics will the board and shareholders play? Will the Qantas CEO be empowered or will her engines be depowered?

Andy Wang from Unsplash - People Are Our Greatest Assets at Qantas by Craig Johns

People Are Our Greatest Priority

Approaching a shift in focus from bottom line to people first is going to be more challenging that trying to turn a cruise ship around in the Suez Canal. Where there is will there is a way. 

QANTAS’s ability to rise again will be determined by Vanessa Hudson’s gravity of leadership. She will need to shift from the Qantas CEO creating a gravitational push to developing a gravitational pull where everyone is aligned and heading in the same direction.

It will require creating an eco-system not an ego-system, where people are positioned at the heart of every decision and action made. Qantas will need to start with a culture detox before they can commence a culture change.  

The iconic Australian airline, once known as the Spirit of Australians seems to be fast becoming the ghost of Australians. Vanessa Hudson faces the challenge of balancing business, employee and customer centricity. 

Troy Mortier from Unsplash - Vanessa Hudson will need to keep\ an eye on customer, people and Qantas by Craig Johns

Focus On Customers, People & Business

As noted in the Channel 9 interview “As a company, our job is to get the balance right between looking after our customers, you – our people, and the business itself. Right now, achieving this balance must start with our customers, and that’s what we will be focused on with our new management team.”

However unless you first get the right strategy, right people and right culture in place Qantas won’t be able to attend to the customer service needs. Customer service starts with the CEO. 

Vanessa Hudson will need to work with the employees of Qantas to identify what the right customer service approach is and then embody it. Once the right strategy, right people and right culture have been attended to, the right systems and processes, products and services and customer service will come to life.

Sam Carter from Unsplash - Customer Service Starts With The Qantas CEO by Craig Johns

The First 100 Days

The bottom line will take care of itself rather than being the number one focus in recent years. The first 100 days of Vanessa Hudson’s reign will be pivotal. Trust and respect will need to be earned, which requires hearing the voice of Qantas people, loyal customers and stakeholders.

There are two pivotal questions that will determine what the Qantas of the future will look, feel and sound like.

  1. What does a world class version look like?
  2. What will stop us from achieving that?

These two simple questions will not only reveal what it will take to gain enough momentum to achieve liftoff, but also what is required to consistently perform in the eyes of the traveller.

Josh Withers from Unsplash - Vanessa Hudson Carry the torch at Qantas by Craig Johns


Qantas’ leadership needs to ask itself three all important questions;

  1. What do travellers need?
  2. What do our staff want?
  3. How can we re-inspire loyalty in our brand?

All while remembering the mantra… ‘People are our greatest priority’.

Vanessa Hudson has been handed the Qantas torch from Joyce. Qantas’s condition may not be what it used to be, however Vanessa Hudson’s role is to Carry the Torch. Not just to carry the torch, but to protect the flame so the flying kangaroo is illuminated in our hearts and minds once again and leave the Qantas torch in a better place than she received it.

Craig Johns talks about the new Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson

Craig is a 10x National Champion, International coach and CEO turned high performance leadership expert, international speaker and and Inspiring Great Leaders Podcast host.

He is the CEO & Managing Partner of Speakers Institute Corporate, a high performance leadership expert, and a leadership, high performance and workplace culture keynote speaker.

Learn more about how Craig is working with a diverse team of exceptional human beings to inspire great leaders at

Book Craig as a Speaker and learn how to become a high performing leader by going to for more on the Gravity of Leadership, Break The CEO Code and Atomic Pressure.

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How Heavy is the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders? Gravity of leadership Craig Johns

How Heavy is the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders?

How Heavy is the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders?

How Heavy is the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders?

By Craig Johns

Have you ever felt the weight of the world on your shoulders so heavy it has flattened you? You feel paralysed by the burden, exhausted by the piling up of tasks and overwhelmed by the excess pressure of responsibility. 

It is as though the energy is being sucked out of you and your feet are being swept out from underneath you. 

Why is it that leaders feel they need to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders? 

Is it the overwhelming pressure to perform because one has great responsibilities? Maybe it’s a fixation on problems because of actions that have occurred in the past or worry about what might happen in the future? Could it be that the leaders own internal expectations or the external expectations of stakeholders are unrealistic and combined are too much to handle? Or is it because of a fear of failing, fear of being found out, fear of letting the team/company down or even the fear of disappointing someone?


One of the three aspects of understanding your Gravity of Leadership is the heaviness of the weight of responsibility you carry. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of “carry the weight of the world on one’s shoulders” is to feel much pressure because one has great responsibilities. Therefore the weight of the world on your shoulders could be any one of a number of the possibilities noted above. 

Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, can overwhelm even the most experienced leaders. As Uncle Ben famously articulated in the 2002 movie, Amazing Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility”. 

The phrase “having the weight of the world on your shoulders” has its origin from Greek Mythology in which Zeus, the king of all gods in the Olympus, made Atlas carry the heavens to separate it from earth where a group of people called the Titans were fighting the Olympians in order to put a stop the clashes.

Taking on a leadership role is like a parent watching a baby. You can’t take your eye off them, you are sensitive to every sound they make, you are consumed by everything in that baby’s life and it’s like nothing else in the world matters. In many ways you have no choice as the baby can die if you’re not attending to it. It is the same as leading a company, coaching a team or guiding a community, if you take your finger off the pulse it might stop. The question is how much pressure does your finger need to apply to the pulse?

After observing both parents and leaders during my lifetime, there are three commonalities which result in the weight of the world on your shoulders, becoming ineffective and at times quite detrimental to your performance. 



When you see a parent with their first born child they tend to focus their entire attention on the child, protect them from hurting themselves, try and do everything perfectly, be there every step of the way, caught up in what they or you have just done, am I doing the right thing, fast-track their growth and how it will affect them in the future, and worry about protecting them from every small possibility that could happen in the future. 

Does this sound familiar to you? It’s called Control. You are likely to have seen this with first time leaders and even leaders when they start out in a new role or with a new team. This level of control will eventually restrict you, inhibit growth and become overbearing for the team members.  

Ben Horowitz, author of what you do is who you are and the hard things about the hard things, once said, “As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby… I woke up every two hours and cried.” Have you been in a leadership role when every aspect of the company or team you are leading consumes your mind 24/7 and begins to weigh you down or hold you back from being at your best?

As people mature into a leadership role or have experienced a few different leadership roles, we tend to see a shift in how they lead and what consumes their mind. They start to relinquish control and they notice their company or team starts to perform better. The high performing leaders understand what is important, where to focus their attention and what they can let go of. 

As a leader you must treat your company or team like it’s your third baby, not your first. Have you noticed by the time a parent has their third baby they are less controlling, are more relaxed, allow the baby to explore and learn at their own pace, spend less time worrying, focus only on what is really important and are better able to spread their time across more aspects of their life. 

Great leaders empower rather than control, manage their own and teams energy wisely, remove unnecessary expectations and focus their attention in areas that make a difference. 

RESPONSIBILITY - LEAD LIKE A MONK Gravity of Leadership Craig Johns


When you see or hear of a monk, what is the picture that forms in your mind? For me it is a calm, caring, unhurried, centered and under control person who works with others for the collective good of people. They use their energy, expectations and emotions wisely through shared responsibility and collaboration. 

Compare this to a poor leader who seems hurried, stressed, self-centered, over-controlling who is only focused on numbers, output and how they look. It is as if they intentionally try to make their life, and those they lead, harder. Any mistake or question becomes a burden and adds weight to their responsibility. 

Effective leadership is not just about taking responsibility, it’s more about how we carry and distribute it. 

Monks have a very clever way of sharing the responsibility load so that not one person carries all the weight of expectations, duties and requirements. They view responsibility as an act of service. Service to the community. They view their responsibilities as serious, rather than burdensome. 

As a leader, view responsibility in a servant leadership lens. Remove the burden of unnecessary responsibilities, requirements and expectations. Allow each person to assume a level of responsibility that serves them, serves the team and if working in a company serves the client. Shift your attention to how can we together carry the weight of responsibility of the entire team, company or community? 

FAILURE - ITS NOT ABOUT ADDING MORE WEIGHT Gravity of Leadership Craig Johns


If you have ever been to a gym or you have watched weightlifting on TV you will know what happens when you add too much weight to a squat bar, dumbbell or exercise machine. At some point you fail to lift the weight, something breaks or it comes crashing down on you. 

Adding more tasks, expectations or level of responsibilities at some point will lead to Failure as a leader. Maybe you get sick, you react negatively or spread yourself too thin. 

When it comes to carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, you have control over how heavy the weight is. There is never a time where there is no weight and like going to the gym you always need some weight to grow and perform better. You have full control over the expectations you set on yourself, how many tasks you take on, how you manage your energy and where you focus your attention. 

Yes, the external expectations of stakeholders can weigh you down, however you can still control how to manage that expectation internally. How can you reframe the expectation to ensure it doesn’t become burdensome?

Its your responsibility Gravity of Leadership Craig Johns


Controlling the controllables is important, but it is even more important to know how much control and where to relinquish control so the team or company can thrive. Focus on what aspects are important to have your finger on the pulse and where to let go, just like a parent does each time they have another baby.

It’s your responsibility to share the responsibility among the team as you will not be able to hold the weight of the world on your shoulder if you allow it to get too heavy. How can you lead like a monk and focus on collective responsibility without burden?

Be present and attentive to how much weight you have applied and when it’s a good idea to remove the weight or move it to someone else’s shoulders in your team or company. 

Jim Maxwell famously said, “everything rises and falls on leadership”. As a leader it is important that you manage the energy, expectations and emotions to ensure the whole team rises rather than falls with the weight of responsibility.

I will leave you with the challenge to lighten the weight of the world on your shoulders. What will be the first thing you take off?

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Gravity of Leadership Craig Johns

How Gravity Of Leadership Determines Your Impact

Gravity of Leadership Craig Johns

Gravity of Leadership

By Craig Johns

Your Gravity of Leadership has the power to create or destroy, inspire or dishearten, empower or restrict, include or exclude, thrive or struggle, be present or distant, fight or flight, strengthen or weaken and grow or wither away.

I’m curious, how are you perceived as a leader? Good, average or bad?

I don’t believe people intentionally set out to become bad leaders who create toxic environments that negatively impacts their employees, team, community, friends or family members lives. 

In most cases people set out with the intention to be good leaders who make the right decisions, support their people and enhance their team, community or company they are involved in. 

However, we all know that the intention of being a good leader does not always match the reality of the situation. 

Whether it be the influence of environments leaders have worked in, childhood beliefs, a lack of leadership training or an unconscious lack of self or situational awareness, leaders can have quite a detrimental and negative impact even though they are trying their best to lead the people around them,

What I have found is that when you are conscious and intentional about your leadership, you can increase the chances of your Gravity of Leadership having a positive impact and influence on people, teams and companies.

When Delta Airlines plummeted from the skies

Let’s take a look at Delta Airlines, who were once famous for their customer service excellence. The leaders introduced cost-saving measures that slashed corporate training budgets and staff perks, led to an almost overnight collapse. 

Famously known for their smiles, Delta Airlines employees became grumpy and no longer motivated to care about their customers. As you can imagine, the result was customer voting with their feet and moving to competitor airlines who placed high value on customer services. 

Within 3 years, Delta Airlines went from being routinely voted by passengers as one of the top 3 airlines in America to filing for bankruptcy. They were rescued, but have never regained the trust and loyalty of passengers, even after rebuilding the old culture of hospitality and excellent services. 

One decision, by the leadership team, was all it took to create a seismic event that went off the Richter scale. Their Gravity of Leadership and a long lasting legacy effect that they are still paying for. 

What is the effect of your decisions, behaviours, attitudes, choices and opinions?

As a leader your impact either draws people together or pushes people away. The strength of your impact can vary from being barely noticeable to extremely dramatic and therefore determines how slow or fast you pull people towards each other or push them away. It’s like a combination of gravity that pulls people in and a magnet that either repels or attracts people. 

Gravity comes from the latin word gravitas that means ‘weight’, which is derived from its latin root of gravis meaning ‘heavy’. In regards to human beings, the greater your gravitas the heavier the weight your ideas, influence and authority have on people.  

But your gravity of leadership is much more than just gravitas. If we look at gravity, it is the universal force that attracts objects in space towards each other. On planet earth, gravity is the force that pulls objects towards the centre of the planet. In leadership, your Gravity Of Leadership is not only the strength of force on people, but also acts like a magnet where you can either pull people together or push them away.

How can you shift your Gravity of Leadership?

Your own Gravity of Leadership has the ability to create a culture that has a powerful feeling of inclusiveness, belonging and connectedness. The choices you take and the decisions you make can have a positive impact on the people you lead and serve.

How you lead can leave an influential lasting legacy beyond your lifetime. Your Gravity of Leadership is quite often silent and you may not be aware of the positive and negative impact you are creating.

Being conscious and intentional about how you lead others and yourself is an important start to shifting your gravity of leadership. How much impact are you prepared for and willing to create through your leadership? How do you want to be perceived as a leader?

Think about a critical mass of people moving and working towards something better would be like gravity – difficult to resist, difficult to fight, and if you do, you’ll be shot off into stratosphere all by yourself!

So what is it that creates an irresistible gravitational pull as a leader? 

Stay connected and find out more in the Gravity of Leadership Linkedin newsletter as each week we help you to discover the DNA of high performing leaders who create thriving teams.

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