Authenticity is the key to Recovery

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A super short sample of how one Southwest Airlines employee changed our experience by bringing his authentic self to work. For yet one more example pick up the July August 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review and enjoy the How I did it story about Zappos. Taken from CEO Tony Haish’s book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, the article describes Zappos commitment to “providing the wow experience”.

Three ideas paralleling “The Southwest Airlines Way” include:People don’t make the difference. The right people make the difference.

Zappos move to Las Vegas was predicated on finding a work force that understood 24 hour customer service.   Their first year they had 25,000 applicants for 250 positions. They weren’t paying more money they were offering greater meaning.

No Scripts

Scripts may guarantee consistency, but they obliterate personality. Real connections happen when real people are allowed to be themselves. Even though only 5% of Zappos sales are made by phone at some point most customers want to talk to someone. This is what others have described as “The moment of truth”. Opportunities like these are not made of information, but emotion. My wife described her “aha” experience when shopping for a pair of yellow sandals. They couldn’t be chrome yellow, sunshine or even daisy yellow. Her moment of truth came with the description “yellow, like the icing on a vanilla Zinger”.

Southwest Airlines, Zappos and thirteen more listed in my newest study guide Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux are models for the future of organizational design and that future is today. Sure you can stick with the old systems. Add a little grease, refine few functions and you’ll still be operating on a model a century out of date.

It is possible to create an organization free of positional pathologies, secretive silos, pandering at the bottom and pretending at the top. Why continue to operate in an institution that is in need of absolution. Work can be a place that is fulfilling, rewarding, and meaningful. A place where strengths are honored, individuality encouraged and integrity more than a motto. It does not matter where you are, how long you’ve been or what you do. Change begins with you. You decide authenticity or popularity. If you can’t find both in the same place, change where you are or go where you belong. Life is too short to pretend. “Change the Buzz and Bee the Difference” with Peer Powered Performance™.

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