My blog post last month dealt with Loyola’s successful basketball season and the character and drive that accompanied the team’s magical run to an NCAA Final Four appearance. The team’s ‘no finish line’ mantra of approaching their objectives day by day, believing in team vs individual accomplishments, and striving to learn and improve daily are all qualities we need to keep top of mind as we navigate our busy days.
A key attribute of the Loyola team and their successful historic season resulted from culture. The tagline ‘Created by Culture’ adorned t-shirts, posters, and a social media campaign. The culture— protect the team, no entitlement, be early— was established from the beginning, discussed often, and addressed if there was a lapse or gap throughout the season. This contributed to an overall “we are all on the same page” belief.
An organization with a strong culture based on rich values is Southwest Airlines. Annually on Fortune’s Most Admired Company list, Southwest exudes a positive culture from the flight attendants to the gate agents to the corporate employees in the Dallas HDQ. With voluntary turnover at just 2%, a positive inclusive environment reaches every piece of their business. Southwest even has a Culture Department that serves as an oversight for this critical aspect of the company.
‘Service with heart’ is what sets Southwest apart from similar companies and this philosophy is crucial in the customer service business. The Southwest culture comprises of leadership that is inclusive of employees opinions on company matters. This sustains the organization because employees feel engaged and valued. A positive inclusive culture matters, because when employees feel like stakeholders, they continue to reinforce the values of the organization.
As leaders, we realize the importance of sustaining the culture we seek, staying aware that a one-time stellar meeting, or inspirational memo, or memorable retreat is not enough. We need to continually communicate the importance of our values, let our team members know they are appreciated and their opinions count, and always thank them for their contribution to our successes.
by: Tim Kennedy, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions