Southwest Airlines figured out a few very important aspects of business. This airline is know for being exception. Do you know why? Let’s take a look at the #1 priority of Southwest Airlines per Herb Kelleher, co-founder to learn how we can apply these nuggets to our Small Businesses.
Herb says, “We value our employees first . . . if you treat them right, they treat the customers right, and if you treat the customers right, they keep coming back.” (Source: Leadership Secrets from the Bible, 2002).
NOTE: I’m updating this blogpost since I first wrote it because some facts have changed. Additionally, this is a powerful reminder to support your small business’s performance and growth!
Only since I originally wrote this article in 2013, have I flown on Southwest Airlines. Over a handful of round trips has me confirming what I’ve heard others share. They consistently provided favorable reviews of being treated well. It appears Kelleher’s philosophy and practice is successful!
Think about it, when was the last time you heard about a leader, of a large business, who took individuals to dinner and learned of their problems?
This was one of Kelleher’s practices – not that he was a busy body at all. Rather, he had authentic concern for the well being of his employees. He was noted for his genuine kindness and compassion.
Your turn: Do your teams, vendors, and customers know that you truly care about them?
If not, it might be time to change your approach. People want to be “important enough” to others. We all want to feel cared for and supported.
I don’t know anyone who likes being alone. Even in business we definitely need others to help us become a brilliantly profitable business! Too often Small Business Owners and/or management of companies (who are people working together toward common goals) forget that our greatest asset is our people.
Far too often, our behaviors and comments tend to dictate this forgetfulness to those who we rely upon quite heavily. For you solo-entrepreneurs, this could be your family and/or close friends.
As business leaders, our challenge becomes one of remember how we would like others to treat us. Then, treat others in that manner. This isn’t a difficult strategy to grasp.
The difficulty tends to be in the application. This is one of those strategies that you will have to choose to make a priority. If you do, you will reap the rewards and possibly become a premier employer of choice. Cool isn’t it? Just start this and see what will become of it 🙂
The last point to mention that Southwest Airlines masters is having fun at work. I have seen their employees be all goofy and have fun with their passengers = customers. Heck, I’ve even seen them in some absolutely side-splitting customers on Halloween one year.
What are you doing to lighten up your team and your work schedules? This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just create moment which bring laughter and joy for everyone! What can you plan right now to make everyone smile more?
What’s your vision of taking care of your team and your customers? What’s their vision? What would they appreciate? Feel free to share in the comment section.
p.s.: Smiles and kindness go a long way in life and business.
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