Dr. Jackie Freiberg talks Cause! and Nuts!, Culture and Leadership

A discussion with a bestselling author

When you sit down with author, speaker and consultant, Dr. Jackie Freiberg it is a bit like sitting face to the wind on a fast-moving vessel. You can barely catch your breath as you take in the fresh air of ideas she brings to the table.

This energy might be the reason the books Jackie co-authors all have exclamation points in the titles.

Jackie and her husband Kevin are authors of the international bestseller NUTS! Southwest Airlines Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success Jackie and Kevin followed that book with six more books helping leaders create, “Best Places where the Best People can do their Best Work to make the world better.”

The Freiberg’s book NUTS! is a favorite of mine. I read it long before I experienced my first Southwest Airlines flight. It set the expectation level high, but the Southwest team delivered. I have gone on to become frequent flyer.

My favorite Southwest moment was meeting founder and then CEO Herb Kelleher in a hotel ballroom in San Francisco.

A group of colleagues and I had decided that if we arrived one hour before the lunch program, we could sit, relax and catch up with each other.

Herb Kelleher was the scheduled keynote speaker for the luncheon. As we sat talking, I noticed Herb walk into the room to check things out. On a whim, I called him over to the one table filled with people in an otherwise empty room.

Herb was immediately “on”.  He played our table like a borscht belt comedian (think Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett) and had us roaring with laughter.  He told us he had flown up on a Southwest plane filled with passengers. I had read in the book that he would often help the attendants on the flights he took and challenged him by asking if he had pitched in. “Of course!” he said.

It just so happened that my sister had taken her first Southwest flight that week. Herb asked me to thank her, but I suggested he might do it himself. I handed him my phone with my sister’s number already ringing.

“Kathy!” he said into the phone in his deep voice that also  had a bit of gravel it in from cigarette smoke, “This is Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines. I understand you took your first Southwest flight recently and I want to thank you. I also want you to know that if you ever fly any other airline again, I will have you killed.”

We all nearly fell over with laughter. I immediately called my sister back and begged her not to delete the voicemail. But it was not soon enough. She deleted it immediately as a prank call.

Working with a Cause

What makes the Freibergs special is that they seek out stories like Southwest. They find company cultures that are special. They seek and find special people who make a difference in the way we all work. They show us that going to work each day can be something to earn a paycheck or SOMETHING ELSE.

The Freiberg’s latest book CAUSE! A Business Strategy for Standing Out in a Sea of Sameness focuses on the National Life Group.

According to the book cover, “National Life doesn’t have a blimp, a stadium or a super bowl ad, but they do have…

  • Life Changers
  • Do Good Tours
  • Do Good Fests and
  • Do Gooders all over the country who offer peace of mind, life assurances, and the opportunity to realize your dreams—even when life comes at you unscripted.”

Jackie Freiberg spoke to the members and guests of the Vermont Business Roundtable last year. I sat down with Jackie at Burlington Free Press in September, 2016.

Enjoy this interview with Jackie. Learn more about National Life Group and its mission here.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.