Today I board a Southwest Airlines flight knowing that there’s a hole in the center of the heart-shaped corporate icon. Cofounder of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, just passed away at the age of 87.
He was a legend not only in the airline business, but in any type of business. He was a unique mix of innovation, motivation, and vision.
Here are a few of his quotes on strategy, customer service, culture, and leadership. So many of these quotes I have used whether on stage in a presentation or in a boardroom.
Rest in peace, Mr. Kelleher.
Kelleher Quotes to Inspire Your Strategy
“We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” -Herb Kelleher
An engaged culture promotes continuous learning so that employees are not only growing, they are staying ahead of change. Even better, they are bringing positive change into the organization.
An engaged CEO or business owner leads an engaged culture. If she or he is disengaged from the culture, the employee population will also be disengaged.
An engaged culture recognizes that everyone walks in the door with various sets of life skills. Therefore, the organization makes sure everyone has the necessary life skills to change and engage. These include sales, presentations skills, the ability to influence, and clarity in how to build a vitally effective support system.
Self-reflection is encouraged in a strongly engaged culture. At Cornerstone on Demand, executives routinely ask questions such as, “What’s your next move?” “Where are you going next?” After seven years employees are given a sabbatical for self-reflection. The point is, we cannot have engagement without a connection to one’s own truth. We have proven this thousands of times in our programs, which are question driven.
“More than 80% of America’s workers don’t like what they do for a living.” –David Harder
I’ve featured many people on this site talking about the problem of engagement. The stats are remarkable. We didn’t have sophisticated surveys years ago. Do you think this is a new phenomenon?
In the scheme of things, surveys are a bit old-school. The problem with surveys is they don’t produce change. Unless there is a solid commitment to produce an engaged culture, they often create more harm than good.
My point in The Workplace Engagement Solution: Find a Common Mission, Vision, and Purpose With All of Today’s Employees is that the majority of workers are checked-out, to various degrees. Getting them back requires a visionary commitment from the leadership but it also requires that we teach people how to change and engage. Notice that I rarely use one work without the other. Right now, according to a recent New York Times study, 48% of Americans view themselves as “underemployed.” This is also a staggering number and yet it is reflective of workers at odds with keeping up with change.
Gallup: Only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged.
There’s one phrase that often goes unheard in the workplace, yet has a huge impact on a company’s success: employee engagement.
Most business leaders have the mentality that they’re responsible for providing work; employees are responsible for getting it done. Under this logic, it’s up to the employees to motivate themselves day in and day out.
However, it’s practically impossible to stay motivated in an unsupportive environment (which is probably why 70% workers are disengaged from their jobs).
Fact: 70% of workers are disengaged from their jobs.
Disengagement is a defense mechanism. Employees distract themselves from what makes them unhappy (work) with other things they deem more fulfilling, like looking for new jobs, talking to friends, or watching funny cat videos.
“When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” –Simon Sinek
This helpful illustration from Company Folders provides an eye-opening look at just how low employee engagement could be affecting you. (In the U.S. alone, companies could save up to $350 billion a year through increased employee engagement.)
Read on to learn what’s causing employees to disengage and how you can help them get back on track.
“To win in the workplace you must first win in the workplace.” –Doug Conant
Tema Frank founded Web Mystery Shoppers International, the world’s first company to test omnichannel customer service. Her new book, People Shock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule, shows off both her decades of business experience and the research from interviewing over 150 business leaders. She developed a formula to help businesses improve the customer experience in the midst of a digitized world.
I recently asked her about her research.
“The key to getting work done on time is to stop wearing a watch.” –Ricard Semler
As we automate more and artificial intelligence wipes out jobs, the smaller amount that is left for human to human interaction becomes critical. Companies that are people-focused (while using technology to support those people) are the ones that will win in an era of increasing competition and social media power. If you get the people side right, PeopleShock is your key to success. Ignore it and your company will soon be history.
“If you’re too busy to build good systems, then you’ll always be too busy.” –Brian Logue
Please share your 3P Profit Formula with our audience.
Customers are cranky, and they’ve got more choices than ever before. So you’ve got to keep them happy, and that means getting all of the 3 Ps of Profit right:
Promise – Having a clear aspirational, inspirational and memorable reason for doing what you do inspires staff and customers. It also gives staff a filter for decision-making: Would their action be consistent with the company’s promise?
People – Business success comes from connecting effectively at a human level with people inside (staff) and outside your organization. Outsiders include not only prospects and customers, but people we sometimes overlook, like suppliers, distributors, lenders, investors, media and the public.
Process – As time goes by, some of the processes that got you to where you are stop making sense. To deliver consistently great customer experiences, you have to regularly re-assess how you’ve been doing things. Start by looking at processes from a customer point of view. What do they experience? Then look at how that lines up with what you do internally.
“CEOs are the ones who must conduct the corporate orchestra.” –Tema Frank
This is a guest post by friend and mentor Bruce Rhoades, who retired after having run several companies. He often helps me with strategy. I am delighted that he is a regular contributor.
Does your organization possess the skills necessary to successfully implement your strategic plan?
Strategic Planning Is Not Enough
Organizations invest a lot of time, talent and money in a strategic planning process. They carefully consider market segments, opportunities, trends and competition. Then they develop strategic initiatives and projects. They examine assets, products, pricing, costs, headcount, revenue projections and develop detailed 3 -5 year projections. Sometimes shareholder value and market value models are created.
“One often-overlooked aspect of a talent assessment is leadership.” –Bruce Rhoades
I have spent considerable time with organizations on strategy, planning and process as strategy officer, as interim CEO for several companies and as a consultant. I am surprised how often the entire process misses a key element of strategy: a strategic talent assessment.
If the organization does not actually possess the key skills to execute the strategy, what skills are needed and how can they be obtained? No matter what process is used for strategy development, a strategic talent assessment is needed before “dropping the flag” on execution.
“A strategic talent assessment examines the skills needed to execute.” –Bruce Rhoades
Ideally, the assessment should be performed when key strategic initiatives are identified. It is especially important to assure that the talent is available to assess the market and opportunity at the next level of detail before committing major resources.
The assessment should be performed at a sufficient level of detail to enable successful execution. Avoid a tendency to categorize talent at high, abstract levels. A good test for the level of detail is to imagine that you are trying to hire a person with these skills — how would you identify that the person possesses the skills? For example, do not just indicate “technology skills” but specify the exact technology skills. Likewise, do not indicate “sales” but what type of sales skills – consumer, consultative, B2B, etc.
One often-overlooked aspect of a talent assessment is leadership. Even if all the necessary talent resides in the organization, execution will fail if leadership is absent. We have all seen a sports team with an abundance of individual talent but with no leadership to get the talented individuals to perform and deliver as a team.
“Even if the necessary talent is present, execution fails without leadership.” –Bruce Rhoades
The result of the talent assessment should be a “skills gap” matrix that lists the skills currently resident in the organization and the skills needed to execute the strategy. They can even be ranked critical, important, necessary, etc. The “skills gap” matrix should be used as a guide to acquire the necessary talent.
One gap that often occurs in current strategies is when organizations want to utilize “big data analytics” in products, marketing or sales but actually have no resident skills in analytics, statistics, large database technology or modeling.
Another example is when organizations want to capitalize on “social media” but have scarce skills in the organization that actually understand how to best use social media to reach their goals.
“Execution before the proper skills are in place can waste resources and damage credibility.” –Bruce Rhoades