Full Disclosure: I fly exclusively on Southwest Airlines and believe they offer the best flying experience of any major airline in the United States.  I also believe they have an organizational culture that leads to hiring better employees, offering a better customer experience and being less likely to do something as idiotic as what United Airlines did recently.

In case you haven’t seen or heard (click HERE if not), United forced a paid customer off an overbooked flight because they couldn’t figure out a better way to compensate a few customers in exchange for them taking a flight the following day.  Every airline deals daily with overbooked flights, including Southwest, however employees choose how they want to handle the situation.  Rather than continuing to up the offer they gave to those currently on the flight, they chose to stop upping the offer and told four customers they had to get off the flight in exchange for $800.  I find it hard to believe that a company that did $36 billion of revenue in 2016 couldn’t have simply upped the offer until four customers jumped for joy out of their seat, took the offer and came back the next day – instead, they abruptly forced customers off the flight, which led to a completely avoidable altercation.

So why do I feel so confident that Southwest wouldn’t have done this?  Because they have an exceptional organizational culture and that culture leads to better people making better decisions.  If you want to see the specific details of their organizational culture, simply click HERE.  I’m sure United has all of these as well, but they don’t LIVE IT every single day like Southwest and it doesn’t permeate throughout their entire organization.

How can you make sure your chapter or community acts more like Southwest and less like United?  Follow these 3 simple steps to have a great organizational culture:

1. Have a clearly defined Purpose, Vision and Mission for your organization

Southwest has a clear Purpose (Connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel), Vision (Become the world’s most loved, most flown and most profitable airline) and Mission (The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit).

Do you have a Purpose, Vision and Mission for your chapter or community?

2. Determine if potential employees align with your Purpose, Vision and Mission

Southwest has a detailed interview process that evaluates ALL candidates against “Living the Southwest Way” (Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart & Fun-LUVing Attitude) and “Working the Southwest Way” (Work Safely, Wow Our Customers & Keep Costs Low) – they only hire people who they believe align with these critical pillars of their organization.

Does a potential member need to align with certain key items before being given a bid into your chapter/community?

3. Consistently ACT that way in everything that you do

It is one thing to write these things on your website, it is another thing to consistently act like it in everything you do – all of the employees at Southwest have ACTIONS that align with their Purpose, Vision and Mission.  The behavior of the United employees does not align with Southwest’s Mission and therefore I don’t believe anyone who works for Southwest would have acted that way in that situation.

Are members of your chapter/community held accountable to a certain set of standards?

Helping chapters develop a strong organizational culture is one of the many ways we help fraternities and sororities thrive – if we can help your chapter or community grow, please give us a shout by clicking HERE and we’ll set up a time to chat!