Monday, February 14, 2011

Looking for LUV?

At Southwest Airlines, it is more than their stock ticker symbol. The ticker symbol LUV is more than an honor to it's first flight and headquarters (Love Field in Dallas); more than an ongoing advertising theme since 1971; it represents the loving character of the company.

On Valentine's Day, there's no better way to emphasize customer service than taking a quick look at the company that is the epitome of practicing love as a way of doing business.

The Greatest Need of the Human Heart
Southwest Airlines understands that the deepest need in our human existence is the need to be loved and accepted - and it doesn't change suddenly or mysteriously disappear when their employees walk through the door at work.

Here are some of the lessons Southwest has learned about love - and how they express them:
  • Love is action-oriented: at Southwest, love is something employees choose to do because they are committed to the well-being of others
  • Love is patient: employees at Southwest get in the trenches with people and endure difficulty or hardship, and they do it without complaining - that's expressing love
  • Love is kind and generous: Southwest employees don't look away; they involve themselves and sometimes inconvenience themselves
  • Love is courteous: at Southwest, love helps employees  believe in people and look for the goodness of others
  • Love is affirming: Southwest believes that when people receive affirmation, they develop the courage to change and the confidence to succeed when they try something new
  • Love is compassionate: at Southwest, compassion consists of the capability of identifying with the pain of another person coupled with the desire to relieve it
  • Love extends grace and forgiveness: Southwest has created a culture where the norm is to forgive and forget
  • Love doesn't guarantee approval: real love comes without conditions; it doesn't depend on anything else. At Southwest, employees are loved without approving of their performance
  • Love is tough and gutsy: Southwest believes that actions are motivated by genuine love, and that sometimes the most loving thing you can do for others is telling them the truth - even when it hurts.
  • Love embraces humility: Southwest employees believe that when you are okay with yourself and yet not caught up with yourself, you can focus more on the needs of others
How is your organization practicing love?

Want to know more about Southwest Airlines and the secrets of their success? The comments on love found above, along with hundreds of other insights, stories, and suggestions can be found in the book "Nuts!" by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.

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