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Using Values to Grow Business: United Versus Zappos and Southwest

Zappos Family Core Values For Their Company

Establishing Core Values For Their Company

I had and am still having a conversation with one of my alliance partners in the UK as to whether to swap out a focus on values by companies to a focus on passions or intentions. I shared that I continue to focus on core values as one of the most powerful places to focus to grow a business.

Following are just two of many reasons:

  1. “Great core values create a “road map” for the employees and other stakeholders of an organization to follow.

    Zappos, the online shoe store wonder, goes all out when it comes to core values. It even has a video of their values and showcased by their employees. Again, you see, like Southwest Airlines, a commitment to fun wrapped with a unique twist–the value of humbleness which resonate with a number of their employees. For a complete list of their values, see below.

  2. Great core values create an experience for the customer or client AND the employees delivering the service-product experience.

    Take two of the core values of Southwest Airlines–fun and love. What I think makes these core values so powerful is that they are not typical core values of other organizations of its kind.

    Take, for example, the core values of United Airlines which are:

  • Quality products or services;
  • Best overall value;
  • Reliable delivery;
  • Customer service and effective follow-through;
  • Financial stability; and
  • Innovation and continuous improvement.

Aren’t these quite different from Southwest’s core values? They are definitely focused on a quality service experience, but  HOW  will the service make people feel? Whenever I fly Southwest I know I am going to “experience” fun and, yes, even love and that many others are having similar experiences–including the employees of Southwest. And the result of living those values daily?

Southwest ranks first in on-time arrivals and baggage handling and has the least number of consumer complaints per passenger filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation. It gets its planes in and out of the gate faster than other major U.S. airlines and serves more passengers per employee.

Final Thoughts About Core Values?

I realize after looking at Zappos and Southwest Airlines core values that I need to weave in fun to our values at Networlding. I remember when we took 1000 people through the Networlding process back in 2000 that the groups I had the best time with were the circles of people who valued fun as one of their main values. It didn’t mean those circles did not value achievement, innovation or customer service. It just meant they ALSO saw that fun helped them achieve their goals, perhaps, better and faster. Success from the inside out is very real for companies that understand the power of creating and then leveraging great core values. What other values have you seen that are different and that work well? What values does your organization hold and practice that has yielded great results?

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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