I recently read with delight Gary Kelly’s article, A Year in Review, in Southwest Airlines’ inflight magazine. Kelly, Chairman and CEO, chronicled his thoughts about 2017, in which he says, “Through the challenges and triumphs over the year, I have witnessed the Heart of Southwest Airlines shine brighter than ever. For that, I’ll be forever grateful and proud of the magnificent People of Southwest Airlines.”
Why is this so extraordinary? Because Kelly gets it and he means every word. In contrast, many business leaders signed year-end letters that included words similar to the ones in Kelly’s article, but they don’t get it or mean it. They signed the letters out of obligation, not because they think their employees are their greatest asset.
You may be thinking, “If a senior leader does not think employees are the company’s most important asset, what does he/she think is?” Customers, technology, money, shareholders, software, the Board of Directors. The list goes on and on. And because of this, many leaders do not invest in creating an extraordinary business environment (i.e. Culture) that enables employees, and hence, customers, to soar.
WHAT CAN I DO? If I’m describing the head of your company, you can educate him/her and get them to see the light. Here is some compelling data that shows the correlation between employee engagement and profitable revenue growth, which you can share with your leader. A savvy leader will get it and be open to continuing the conversation about changes you can make to the culture, which will signal to employees that leaders care. Make this the year that you embrace my four favorite words: If Not You, Who?
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a 2017 Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at+1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.