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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Rockstar of Efficiency



By Craig Johns

Wouldn’t it be great to be a rockstar of efficiency? The type of life you lead is absolutely, one hundred percent, a direct result of the choices you make. There is nothing more annoying than someone continuously telling me they are ‘so busy’, ‘life is so crazy’, I can’t believe people keep ‘asking for more’, my staff are ‘on edge’ right now, it’s not if ‘they will break’ but when.

So why do leaders, the captain of the team, continue to make choices that overload the system in the belief that the more we do, the more productive we will be and that the business will be better for it? It is all fine if you want to just be mediocre, develop a tired culture and see talented people flow through a revolving door.

Have you ever noticed that highly successful people, in general – as there are some crazy outliers, seem to have it all together? They remain calm under pressure, are great at juggling a hundred balls at once, manage a cohesive team, time is effortless and success seems to follow them like a magnet.

Photo by Eleonora Patricola on Unsplash

You might think highly successful people have no life outside of work, they sleep less than five hours a day and must have a real disconnect with their family. It is generally quite the opposite and they live their lives like a high performance athlete.

In general, highly successful people are rock stars at delivering efficiency. They are extremely effective at cutting out worthless and non-practical aspects of life such as watching reality TV shows, attending every meeting at work, accepting all invitations that come across their desk, and indulging in activities that don’t support the end game.

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Time is used wisely and effectively. They set small goals each day that have a definitive time period, which creates urgency and a drive for completion. You will find that they keep team goals and projects less than three months to ensure that their staff are highly motivated and are less affected by other distractions.

Successful people are in control of their schedule and methodical about balancing their calendar. Scheduled meetings are limited to less than twenty percent of their week. They are very particular in setting aside blocks of time with no distractions so they can absorb information, allow their creativity to flow and focus their attention on the most important projects.


They are accountable to themselves and take control of situations rather than laying blame on someone else or something external. The leader occupies the driver’s seat, and they ensure that the right people are on the bus and most importantly sitting in the right seats.

The strengths of their team are established, gaps are identified, and everyone in the team knows their role. Team members are empowered to use their strengths for the good of the team and ensure everyone is paddling in the same direction.

Photo by Cynthia Andres on Unsplash

So what’s next for you? First you need to identify what are the non-negotiable’s in your life and at work that if you took them away would reduce performance and affect the desired life.

Then take a hard look at yourself and identify the things in your life and work that if you took them away would not have a negative effect on the way you want to live your life and the goals you have set? Once you have identified those, set out a plan to slowly eradicate those aspects one at a time.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Next work with your colleagues to establish what could be taken out of daily work activities to free up more time for growth and innovation, or to enable your mind and body the adequate recovery time so that everyone can turn up every day and deliver high performance. As per the first step, you need to work out a gradual plan, with an end date, to remove the activities.

To ensure that you become a ‘Rockstar of Efficiency’, you then need to form consistent habits over a period of 6-12 weeks, so they become ingrained in your every day life.

Life is short, maximize your time on this earth and make a small difference every day. Remember everything you do and every decision you make comes down to a choice. A choice that you have total control over!

Photo by John Torcasio on Unsplash


To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper


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Craig Johns Are you Living


Photo by Anne Lin on Unsplash


By Craig Johns

Life is not separate from work as work is part of life. Too often we hear people in the workplace saying, “I’m working hard now so I can live my life when I retire or when the weekend comes around or during my next holiday”.

“I don’t think of work as work and play as play, it’s all living” 

Sir Richard Branson

Life is how work, home, community and your private self integrate, intersect and interact. They interconnect and feed off each other as we grow and develop through life. The biggest challenge in life is to figure out how to find the time we desire to excel at all aspects of our life.

How many hours a week is required to deliver peak performance at work?

If I spend an extra hour at work, how does that affect my life at home?

To ensure that I have maximum energy at work, how much time do I need to be exercising, switching off, socializing and sleeping?

Should I spend money and take that holiday to paradise now or wait until I have more money saved and are a bit older?

Do the people I socialize with have a positive or negative impact on the other aspects of my life?

We talk about having to make sacrifices in life. This maybe true, but sacrifices are all just choices. Choices that we have full control over. So, how do we know what choices to make if we want to achieve at a higher level? If you don’t have a clear purpose, vision and goals, then you will find it very difficult to find clarity in the decisions you need to make.

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between work and play.” 

L.P. Jacks

Work-life balance is a common buzz phrase talked about in society. So what is it? Is it either standing still and stagnant, or spending half our life working and half our life living? Depending on how you define balance, it will depend on how you approach your life. If you are working 12hrs a day 7 days a week doing something that you don’t enjoy, engage with or understand why you are doing it, then it only leaves only 4hrs a day for other activities in life, if we take into consideration that we are sleeping 8hrs a day.

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” 


Let’s take a look at Work-life integration. It is an outcome of people exercising control and choice in their life to meet life’s challenges. They ensure that they enjoy what they do, take pleasure out of the people they interact with, love becoming better, have purpose and feel satisfied with the life they live.

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” 

Thomas Edison

Your emotions, mood and energy tend to transfer from your work to your life outside of work and vice versa. Very few people have a split personality that they can switch on and off depending the circumstances. Therefore, if you want to be successful in all areas of your life, it is important to be genuine, honest and believe in who you are.


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