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Bethune’s 2-step turnaround plan

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in Leaders & Managers

Before Gordon Bethune joined Continental Airlines in 1994 as president and CEO, the airline had lost money in 12 of its previous 16 years. How could he begin to lead the company out of that kind of trouble?

He applied this simple rule: Do only those things that have worked, and only what will make money. Bethune put more planes on the most profitable routes and cut back on the others.

 That immediate shot-in-the-arm strategy built profits fast and laid the groundwork for Continental’s now-famous turnaround.

— Adapted from Comeback: How Seven Straight-Shooting CEOs Turned Around Troubled Companies, Martin Puris, Times Business/Random House.

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