For the LUV of a Culture
This is my site Written by Alora on June 29, 2008 – 2:35 pm

One of the most interesting presentations at this week’s IABC International Conference was a presentation by the VP of Corporate Communications from Southwest Airlines. I am sure that if I hadn’t spent the past two and a half years in the airline industry, I probably would have picked a different session during that hour, but I’m glad I went.

For starters, it quickly became very clear how many of the core themes and values David Neeleman took directly from his experience at Southwest and used when founding JetBlue Airways. (“Treat your employees right and they will treat your customers right” is one of the core tenants of JetBlue, and it came directly from Southwest.)

What was equally clear, though, was that Southwest has more infrastructure in place to support, maintain and develop those underlying themes and objectives. They have more resources dedicated to those efforts full-time, and they aren’t as reliant on just SAYING that something is a certain way and assuming that if they say it enough, it will automatically make it so.

While I found the entire presentation extremely powerful, I also found it a bit sad and frustrating: the things that make JetBlue a great place to work are the things that seem to be most taken for granted, like the culture and the values. And it’s not that those things are actively promoted and encouraged, but they are ill-defined, unmeasured and unmanaged.

Maybe I’m just too much of a business geek, but how can you promote something that you aren’t consistently and actively quantifying?