Blog entry by Olaoluwa Afolabi
Culture is the drive that determines a company's success or failure. Culture is the reason behind Southwest Airline success. The friendly culture at Southwest Airline spread Family Spirit, Trust, Leadership, Management Style, Competitive Advantage, Internal Customer, Open Sharing Information, Flexibility, Training, Collective Bargaining, and so on. I certainly prefer a friendly culture over any hostility kind of culture. Entire company go for outdoor games such as football on a faithful afternoon at work. Yes, I have experienced that before and it doesn't affect your deliverables but increases productivity. From my experience, I surly buy the narrative that, "work is important, ...don't spoil it with seriousness". However, let us go through some gotchas I learned from Southwest Airline culture:
1. Employee Empowerment
Empowering employee begets loyalty. The employee will not only lay down their lives for the success of the company if you empower them but also let them voice their opinion which may be very key to the company.
2. Customer First, Employee Second, Management Third
This kind of paradigm lets you know you are indeed offering a service by taking care of such stakeholders while management being that last. It pays off to the management in the long run rather than share retained profit as management before you put your customers and employees in the map.
3. Collective Commitment i.e. We vs I
This is a culture of not pointing hands. I believe Collective Commitment somewhat boils down to the organisation enforcing soft skill as a culture. It doesn't matter who made a mistake really, what matters is getting to know what the problem is, fixing it, and documenting the problem but not the employee who made the mistake so that if it happens again you can know how to fix it as fast as possible. This reminds me of "WE" as a team versus "I" in a team. It brings out so much comfortability.
I believe there is a lot to learn from Southwest Airline culture. A lot of archaic people will not buy such idea Southwest Airline has, and they will argue towards productivity. I believe when your tasks or duties are sprints planned and you do a standup meeting to know how they are faring in their respective task, you will not have deliverable problems that will mar the expected productivity the company needs. Work shouldn't be hostility.