The Colleen C. Barrett Institute for Cultural Excellence & Customer Service

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Being Well: Prioritizing Heart and Home in 2024

When drafting a January newsletter, it’s easy to default to common “New Year” themes, such as setting goals and making resolutions. For me, however, the beginning of the year is a much-needed time to reset and reorganize–to make sure my health, my family, and my Team are ready to take on the coming year. Perhaps this rings true for you? Before we can tackle what’s ahead of us, we must take care of our own “house” and reinforce the foundation we need to support us as we work for what we hope to achieve.

At Southwest, we often talk about having a “Founder’s Mentality.” We regularly implore each other to consider: if we were starting the Company all over again, what would it look like, and what are the most crucial things we would do? What are our bedrock values, and do we have structure in place to advance those values? Equally important, are there things we’re currently doing that don’t align with who we want to be as an organization? This simple exercise is surprisingly effective when we need to reset or refocus on things that genuinely matter. This is true for personal wellness, how we care for our families, the kind of teammate we are at work, and even how we engage with the world around us.

As the Team entrusted to promote and protect Southwest’s beloved Culture through programs and events, our role is unique and highly visible. That’s why it’s especially important for me to ensure that all of us are prepared to thrive in the coming year. For our Team, this includes connecting with our Culture Ambassadors and every self-professed Culture champion across the Southwest system and ensuring they are aligned and equipped with what they need. For you, it might look like taking stock of priorities with your direct reports or vision-casting a new future with your department.

To do well, we must first be well, and that means taking inventory of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be. Giving Employees the freedom to express themselves, own their challenges, and prioritize their goals promotes a tremendous sense of worth individually and collectively. It can strengthen trust and generate renewed excitement and emotional balance when it comes to doing the actual work.

Nothing brings these principles to mind quicker than my memories of seeing Colleen (namesake of the CCB Institute!) invest in Southwest’s People firsthand. She knew how to bring us back to what really matters through heartfelt communication, family-oriented initiatives, and timely celebrations—all of which nourished our Culture and contributed to excellent Customer Service and strong performance. That’s why the CCB Institute exists. As a tribute to her legacy, it provides resources and stories that offer insight into her influence at Southwest and also spark ideas for how others may invest in the wellness of their own organizations. And I’ll let you in on a secret. Coming soon—a relaunch of CCBI with a fantastic, refreshed look and improved experience! Stay tuned!

On behalf of my nearly 75,000 fulltime Southwest Cohearts, may you all be well and do well in 2024!

Megan Lee

Megan Lee

Director Culture and Employee Engagement

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When drafting a January newsletter, it’s easy to default to common “New Year” themes, such as setting goals and making resolutions. For me, however, the beginning of the year is a much-needed time to reset and reorganize–to make sure my health, my family, and my Team are ready to take on the coming year. Perhaps this rings true for you?

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