Southwest Airlines: The Culture Crisis That Could Have Been Avoided

“How did we go from the most stable and profitable airline in history to the greatest meltdown in airline history? Three words: lack of leadership,” said the Southwest Pilots Association

Where many might see a PR crisis, those three words — “lack of leadership”— point straight to a culture crisis. Why? When your own people send the poison arrow to your leadership: that’s a deeply divided culture. And it could have been averted by leaders activating their culture with their people.

Activating culture means seeing, owning, and solving your systemic problems years before they gather force. By recognizing your people and knowing how to retain them. By listening and creating a culture of authentic feedback that connects to purpose and strategy.

There are organizations out there like AARP: cultivating their culture, leading the way. 

And there are ways to activate culture to drive change from within to avoid a full-blown culture crisis that directly impacts stock price, leads to a PR nightmare, and causes leaders to rush out fixes and policies that don’t begin to address the underlying negative beliefs held by their own pilots.

Lead with culture. Now is the time.

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