Every year our Leaders, Gary Kelly and Colleen Barrett, travel around our system (typically to six different cities) to deliver our State of the Company address. Recently, they stopped over with us here in Chicago.
The Message to the Field (MTTF) events are typically held near the airport that we fly into and Chicago was no exception. Fly into Chicago-Midway and one El-stop later, you are on Puliaski Blvd. and right across the street is the venue.
I'm not very good at estimating crowd sizes, but I would guess there were approximately 1,500+ people there. Not to worry, I can definitely count to 137 to give the number to our Ops Agents and the Pilots. 😉 There were folks from Indianapolis (Go Bears!), Tennessee, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, and quite a few more that I can't seem to remember.
The MTTF starts our with our President, Colleen, giving us some ground rules -- like NOT asking if Colorado Springs is going to be the next city we serve and advising Employees to go to the microphone during the Q & A to ask a question -- before beginning the event with her comments. I was really excited this year about what she had to say. I don't have the statistics that she shared, but last year at the MTTF, she gave us a challenge. It was to regain our status as #1 in Customer Service. I LOVE Colleen! Her challenge to us last year was to raise our Customer Service Commendations to a ration of 4:1. That means four "Good Letters" for every one "Bad Letter" that we receive and we achieved this goal with a ratio of 4.69:1. YIPPEE!! For those of you that have trudged through my blogs, you'll remember that I'm on our Corporate Culture Committee. One of her goals to us, was to increase our Internal Customer commendations which, in turn, would help us to increase our External commendations, and I'm glad to report that our Internal Customer commendations increasted as well.
We then saw a GREAT video reporting on our last years achievements produced by our AWESOME Corporate Communications Department, led by Ginger Hardage.
It was then time for the Main Event if you will. Colleen introduced THE MAN...THE CEO, Gary Kelly. I must say that I am VERY impressed with Gary. He has got to be one of the smartest men that I know. He is knowledgeable in EVERY aspect of our business. Gary shared with us the vision and goals for the upcoming year ,and I must say that I am VERY excited with what he has and his Leadership Team have planned for us over the next several years. Our revenue goals are aggressive and our cost pressures are still there as well, but we are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities that may come our way in this turbulent industry! In 2007, we will take delivery of 37 new Boeing 737-700 aircraft, and, if more become available, I'd like to think that we would get some more.
During the Q & A section of the program, anyone who has a question has access to the Leaders that have flown in from our Dallas Headquarters. We had people ask questions about technology-related issues, about Customer Service issues and Gary (or one of the Leaders) was more than willing to share what they knew about the topic or said they would research the issue and let us know the results.
I think that Southwest Airlines does a great job with our internal communications. Each week Gary delivers an Employee News Line address, we get a Today at SWA e-mail daily, our own VPs also deliver a weekly News Line Update, and the communication just seems to be nonstop. Being at Southwest Airlines 11 years in April, I think SWA is a Company that I can truly make a difference in someone's life each and every day and for that opportunity, I am truly grateful.
On a personal note, I will be taking two months off to deal with some personal issues, so I won't be blogging for a couple of months, but don't fear, I'll be back sometime in April! (No, Kim, you can't get rid of me that easily!)
I hope you all have a GREAT Day!
P.S. If you have a moment take the time to check out this website. This "movement" has taken off and I would challenge you all to be a part!