Jackie Freiberg, author of the business tome ‘Boom!’ will speak Tuesday in Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Jackie Freiberg, author of the business tome ‘Boom!’ will speak Tuesday in Beaver Creek

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

BEAVER CREEK, COLORADO ” Best-selling authors Kevin and Jackie Freiberg have coined a term for employees who are bored and disengaged in the office: “dead people working.”

Are you among the living dead?

Consider which statement best describes your workplace behavior:


a) When people in my organization complain, I tend to press for a solution.

b) When people in my organization complain, I tend to join them.


a) I go for it! I tell my boss what he/she needs to hear.

b) I tend to play it safe and tell my boss what he/she wants to hear.


a) I admit my mistakes and apologize to those affected by them.

b) When I make a mistake, my first response is to ask, “Who shares the blame here?”

Those are excerpts from a quiz the Freibergs included in their latest business manifesto “BOOM!”

Author Jackie Freiberg will speak Tuesday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek as part of the “A View from the Top” series. The Vail Valley Partnership hosts speakers twice a year in an effort to invigorate the local business community, said Monica McCafferty, the partnership’s communications and public relations manager.

The latest speech will offer a fresh perspective on bolstering customer service in the valley.

“We really need to provide that world class service because that’s what people expect when they come here,” McCafferty said.

The Freibergs, a husband-and-wife team from San Diego, honed their expertise in corporate culture over years of study.

Both spouses focused their doctoral research at the University of San Diego on Southwest Airlines. They spent years observing communication patterns among employees to understand how the company thrives in a beleaguered industry.

Jackie sought to debunk the “great man theory,” the concept that leadership stems from an executive at the top of an organization’s hierarchy.

“You don’t have to wait to have a position of authority or a title of supervisor or manager to lead,” she said. “You can lead through influence, through respect, through people liking you and trusting you.”

The Freibergs’ expanded their research into the best-selling books “NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” and “GUTS! Companies that Blow the Doors off Business-as-Usual!”

Their latest tome, “BOOM!,” offers seven tips for combating the “dead person working” syndrome. It emphasizes the power of personal choice in achieving success at work and coaches readers on how to become valuable players in the workplace.

“We wanted to provide a resource for people who perhaps feel like they need to wait for a boss’ permission or maybe people who think they’re not in the right culture,” Jackie said. “Maybe the culture of their company is dysfunctional or toxic. Or maybe their colleagues just don’t get it or maybe there’s a leader whose people just aren’t stepping up to the plate.”

The Freibergs have traveled throughout the country to give motivational speeches to organizations. For example, they train U.S. Marine Corps. recruiters on how to give speeches. Beyond country borders, the Freibergs have spread their message to Japan, India, Spain and Egypt.

When Jackie heads to the Vail Valley, she will deliver tips on jumpstarting the service industry.

“Any community that is really, intensely dependent on service needs people who are on the front lines, in managerial positions, in leadership positions, in strategy positions, understanding that it takes everybody to create a culture of success,” she said. “An organizations’ ability to provide service is as much the will of the people as it is the will of the leadership team because the people are the ones who are ultimately going to be the ambassadors of that service philosophy.”

Along with a pep talk, those who attend the speech will receive a free copy of “BOOM!” One of those audience members will be Tami Cox, event coordinator at the 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott.

“It’s always nice to hear the different types of customer service stories people have,” she said. “It gives you ideas about how you can incorporate them into your work.”

Kevin Freiberg visited the Vail Valley earlier this year to deliver a similar presentation for “A View From the Top.” McCafferty said the community responded to his speech with rave reviews.

Arts and Entertainment Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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