Throughout Southwest Airlines’ 50-year history, our Warrior Spirit has been and continues to be a key pillar of our Culture. As I reflect on Warrior Spirit and what it means to me, what comes to mind is a term used in change management: Organizational Resilience.
Organizational Resilience is a company’s ability to anticipate and respond to moments of adversity, change, and uncertainty. As you might imagine, a company with a 50-year history has undergone various periods of uncertainty and change. Over the past five decades, Southwest Airlines has grown to nearly 54,000 Employees, expanded our network internationally, survived economic downturns, and weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining our Culture and reputation for Legendary Customer Service. Although Warrior Spirit is symbolic of how we as a Company respond to obstacles, it is also an example of our ability to push beyond complacency and show up each day despite personal circumstances to succeed at providing Hospitality to each other and our Customers.
So, how exactly have we developed and maintained that Warrior Spirit? By demonstrating courage, exercising discipline, and practicing resilience. Courage to challenge the status quo and take the path less traveled. Discipline to remain steadfast during times of crisis and focused on our vision and purpose. And, Resilience by remaining optimistic, never giving up, and striving to be the best each day.
In addition to those three principles, helping Leaders and Employees navigate change is essential to maintaining our Culture and Warrior Spirit. Given that change is a constant and is now occurring at an accelerated pace, our dedicated change management function, Change Leadership, seeks to make change easier while improving the resilience of our People. Although change is never easy, our goal is to equip Leaders and Employees with the right tools and techniques when planning or navigating change.
As we continue to leverage our Warrior Spirit for the next 50 years, here are a few basic change principles that will help us maintain our reputation for Hospitality and protect our Culture:
- Always remain connected to the larger purpose
- Remember past successes
- Extend grace to others and practice self-compassion
- Innovate and solve problems in new ways
- Pause, celebrate progress, and recognize each other
Southwest Warriors – One Team, All Heart!