Why We LOVE the Southwest Team After All These Years

Last week I flew back up to Nashville for Song Team, Team-Building gigs with Bank of America and SCA. The gigs could not have been more different. Tuesday night Scott Barrier, Sherrie Austin and I teamed up with 50 enthusiastic folks from Bank of America in an intimate setting. This was the first face to face meeting ever between these two departments, and we were honored to kick off a new era of collaboration at this forward-looking company. The next day, 11 other writer/facilitators and a full-band were my partners, in giving an interactive keynote for over 400 attendees at SCA where over the past year a merger has occurred, and where after a year of prep work this highly innovative, and creative company is moving forward with ONE vision. We were honored here as well, to be part of a new age of creativity, collaboration and innovation at a Fortune 500 company looking towards the future. What impressed me most about our clients on this trip was that the leadership in both instances, really seemed to “get it.” What did they get?

  • Setting the stage with a unified vision
  • Accentuating the strengths of the team
  • Clearly communicating the goals
  • Bringing everyone to the table

That’s what they got.   And it’s clear, that both companies are on the right path.  Keeping their eyes on the success of both their internal AND their external customers’ needs.  And guess what, because of this strong leadership, the employees for these companies are ALL IN!

On the trip back, Southwest Airlines impressed me, as they’ve done so many times before.  For some reason, I didn’t check in early enough.  Which, since I travel with a big ole’ Gibson guitar, is something I take seriously…usually.  I want to make sure there is always overhead space for the instrument.  When you travel in C group, occasionally, you may be out of luck. Southwest though, flying to and from Nashville, is typically VERY sensitive to the needs of musicians.    Here I was wandering onto the plane late, and the attendant at the front, without prompting from me, had already seen my guitar, and radioed back to her counterpart near the rear of the plane, to “reserve” a spot for my guitar to rest….she knows how many of us pickers feel about checking our babies.  I truly appreciated that.  Small detail, but makes a difference! Near the end of the flight, the crew dimmed the lights, and asked us to close our window blinds.  They they turned on some small emergency lights as “Candles” and sang happy birthday to a surprised passenger.  This is “business as usual” for the Southwest team.  But on a daily basis, their business as usual creates thousands of loyal customers….daily.

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