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The answer lies "in here"

eshelswellwhite
Explorer B
I was in Philadelphia (PHL) on a Tuesday morning in early October when one of our non PHL-based Employees came in. He had arrived in PHL late the previous day and had left his laptop on the plane. Hoping to find it before flying back out later that day, he was understandably anxious, and one of our PHL Leaders was doing his best to help him. After a few minutes, however, it appeared that the laptop had "walked off." This Employee made a perfunctory nod to his role in this – that he had been negligent in leaving his laptop behind – but then proceeded to lay the blame completely at the feet of the PHL Station with the following angry statement (I paraphrase): "In the old days that laptop would never have disappeared. Southwest's Culture sure has changed." The Culture gods, of course, have a sense of humor, for about five minutes later the missing laptop appeared - it had been in a safe all along. In a sense, of course, this Employee was right. SWA's Culture had changed. Where he was wrong, however, was in thinking that the change was in someone else. PHL Employees had done nothing wrong – in fact, they had taken excellent care of a fellow Employee's valuable property. Where the Culture had changed was, in fact, in him; he assumed, without basis, that our PHL Employees were somehow so devoid of Southwest Spirit that they would steal his laptop; he failed to give them the benefit of the doubt. For my fellow Employees, the moral of the story is that we are - all of us - responsible for Southwest's Culture every day, in every interaction with a Customer or Employee. Cultural problems are almost never "out there;" they are almost always "in here." If we all focus on the part of the Culture over which we have control – our own behaviors – the rest will tend to take care of itself. If we all obsess about the supposed Cultural failings of "others" while ignoring our own, then will our Culture be in trouble. Let's not let it happen.
19 Comments
Bill
Employee
Employee
Edward, FANTASTIC post. As usual. Thanks for reminding us to always look for the fault within before we assign blame elsewhere. Great work, Hyphen! :) Bill
angela
Adventurer C
Thanks for the post Edward - and for the reminder that the Culture of Southwest isn't the work of some mystical culture fairy flying around sprinkling happy dust on everyone. It takes work, and ownership, and a belief in others that they will do the right thing...no matter what. I guess that's why it's called giving someone the "benefit of the doubt." I admire your honesty and insight.
FriendofBlogBoy
Frequent Flyer B
Edward, If I may add an extra opinion to your excellent and thought-provoking thread from an "outside" perspective as a Customer, it is also incumbent upon US to "own" our own behaviors too. Too many times, I've seen Customers fail to act responsibly and then try to shift the blame (and a large portion of their guilt) onto a Southwest Employee. The Customer who arrives late at the airport for a flight and then gets mad that their bag can't be checked onboard five minutes before departure and that they have been "bumped" by the ten-minute rule needs to stop and realize who really caused the problem. Many other examples could be offered, but in general, a lot of folks in today's society have learned to explain their behavior in terms of a reaction to other people's behavior. We blame our shortcomings on our parents and the poor examples that they were for us. We blame co-workers for being so dysfunctional that we can't get anything done at work. And of course, in many of these cases, the culprit is found in the mirror. Thank you for reminding us that we ALL have a responsibility to each other and to ourselves for our own behavior, attitudes and reactions by which we are known. Kim
raj-kapoor
Explorer C
Culture: Hilton mailed my Blazer, Marriott sent me my wireless card,someone called ICE (In Case of Emergency) from my cell, asked my wife what was my address and mailed my phone that I dropped with just that single call. All of these without asking for postage. On the other hand, on gun point I was asked to give everything that they could lay hand on when I went to get the paper in morning in my own house. So, even if that lap top would have walked off, it has nothing to do with culture, it will be just one incident and every one needs to view it like that. But I am glad to see a system to have lost and found and that worked well in this case. So no in here or out there, just make sure that when such thing happens, just take care of passanger, own employee or paying customer that require employees. Hey how come number of laughing/jokes is reducing every day (on North East sector) or it just happens in Texas only?? Raj
Kevin211
Explorer A
That also shows the type of passengers that fly SWA. Noone walked off with his laptop.
eshelswellwhite
Explorer B
Kim - Glad you enjoyed it, and I LUV your perspective on the larger issue of personal responsibility. Thanks for sharing it. Edward...
cadams
Adventurer C
Edward, after reminding our passengers "please make sure you have all your belongings with you when you leave" - it is always a high to chase someone down to return a personal item. The highest money item was a wallet containing $4,000.00 dollars cash. The gentleman told me he was making a connection and was in a wheel chair. As I ran up the jet way here he came. He was moving under his own steam as if he didn't NEED a wheel chair! Regarding our changing culture: on occasion I hear "this Company doesn't care about me". I remind them that "this Company" is each one of us - not just the "bosses". The caring begins within our own hearts - like a fax machine caring hearts connect with other caring hearts!
FriendofBlogBoy
Frequent Flyer B
Carole, Did you ever find that $10 million dollars I left onboard a few years ago? It is getting close to Christmas shopping time, and I wanted to get Brian a bunch of candy corn, but I'm a little short of cash. Even if you can't find ALL of it, a few spare thousand would help... Kim 🙂
Shelley1
Explorer C
GREAT post, Edward! What a terrific reminder for all of us...WE are what makes the Southwest Culture what it is, and we can't look any further than the mirror if we're unhappy with it. THANK YOU!
Tommy_Blog2
Explorer B
This is a late reply to this post but I would like to say one thing. If that non PHL SWA employee thinks the SWA culture has gotten so bad, that employee should just quit and seek employment elsewhere. He/she would be happier and that persons negative persona wouldn't be impressed upon other employees. That negative employee leaving the company would be like getting rid of a bad disease, cyst, blood blister, etc......! This suggestion is for any company with a negative employee. Tom
eshelswellwhite
Explorer B
Tom - I guess the question I'd ask in response to your post is, "doesn't Southwest Spirit require that the Employee also get the benefit of the doubt?" For all I know, that Employee is normally a fine example of Southwest Spirit and was just really off his game that day - he might have argued with his wife the night before (and if so, it was probably about how he always loses things); he might have had his house robbed last week - or he might really be devoid of Southwest Spirit. The point is, I don't know what the context for his rant was, but I do know this - in a situation such as this one, Southwest Spirit requires us to focus on the situation, issue or behavior, not the personality. That's why I addressed this issue in light of his behavior without condemning him as a person; he might be a stellar Employee whom I caught on a bad day. Without a relationship, and the context that provides, I am not in a position to say more. Thanks, Tom, for reading Nuts About Southwest, and for taking the time to post your thoughts. Edward...
John_Cass
Explorer C
great post, you really describe what it means to be a southwest employee, but also demonstrate that all of us are human.
Robin9
Explorer A
Hear Hear!!!!!!!! Brillian Edward. That though has lived in alot of us and you described it perfectly!!! Robin Sell Team Leader/Oklahoma City Reservations Center
Dennis_Flamini
Explorer C
Way to go SWA employees.....i left a GPS on UAL 3 years ago....still waiting for someone to tell me it is in the "safe". On the other hand, TSA which is always getting a bad rap found a Co. check and Gov. form that fell out of my luggage at ORD and mailed everything back to me! Dennis in Chicago
HelloWorld
Explorer C
Peace people We love you
Ray_Oakes
Explorer C
I'm a diabetic with a insulin pump traveling SWA on Aug 24 from LAX to Seattle. Are there any restrictions reguarding what supplies I can have in my carry on? Also will any of the scanning devices affect my pump? I'd appreciate your answers. Thanks
Sue10
Explorer C
My husband lost his keys in Vegas at the gate, right before boarding. When he got here & went to pick up his truck, he had no keys. A lady on the airport shuttle bus said she turned a set of keys in at the gate where she found them & descibed them to a T. We tried calling Vegas SW but no one answered. We called the next day, and into the week we kept calling. No one has found them as of yet. At one time a lady said they had found them & they would get back with my hubby, they never did. It has been quite awile now but I was wondering is there a central place that all these things go to & what do they do with unclaimed items like his keys. I do have a pic of the key set but don't know what to do. I called all the numbers I could find & get recordings that I am away from my phone at this time. Is there anyway to find these or is it a lost cause ??? Thanks for any help you can give me. Sue
blusk
Aviator C
Sue, you can call our Central Lost and Found at 214 792-5598
Sue10
Explorer C
Brian, Thanks for the fast reply. That is one of the numbers I have called. It is a recording stating to leave name & desciption, along with the flight info. I just don't know when the flight was for sure. I know it was less than a year ago. I just found this website so was just wondering how long they keep items. After all this time, do we have a chance to find his keys? 2 of them are very odd ones that can not be remade, so if we lose the only set we have, we will be in trouble. They are for his camper shell & tire lock under the truck, plus the main truck key fob (which cost alot to replace). I guess I can call & leave a message & guesstimate the date or tell them I really don't know. Out of all the trips we have taken on Southwest, this is the only real problem we have had. I just figured if they had them in Vegas at one time....what happened to them? Thanks so much again for the quick reply. Have a great day ! Sue