Did you know Southwest is the most profitable airline in history?
Even after September 11, they turned a profit. They’ve continued to grow exponentially, expanding their offerings through the years. And it all started with two men looking to give people an option for short-haul flights in Texas between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
In “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek – which I’ve written about in other blogs – the author debunks the mystery of Southwest’s success with a simple phrase: “As a result of why they do what they do, and because they are highly disciplined in how they do it, they are the most profitable airline in history.”
And please note, they are not the best airline. They aren’t always the cheapest. They have less routes than many of the other airlines out there. But, as Sinek states, “What they do is not always significantly better. But why they do it is crystal clear and everything they do proves it. There are many ways to motivate people to do things, but loyalty comes from the ability to inspire people. Only when the why is clear and when people believe what you believe can a true loyal relationship develop.”
So, Southwest knows their why, what drives them forward each day. Even more than that, every one of their employees knows and believes in the why of the company. Their cause was to give the average Joe a way to get around the country. They built their brand for the common man, and the common man loved them for it because they understood their why.
Now you know what’s coming. I’m going to ask you it anyways: What’s your why? What gets you out of bed every morning and heading to the rec center? What motivates you to come back after a month of challenges and turnover and problems? What keeps you leading your team and fighting every day?
Honestly, it probably has something to do with changing lives and making a positive impact. It is probably a noble cause, one your staff and members can get behind. So, are you saying it clearly? Do your students and staff know what your why is?
Not only is it essential to know your why, it’s key to make sure others know it as well. People can get behind a why only if they know and understand it. So make it clear and see what happens.