A few years ago Southwest Airlines hired some consultants to give them advice and help their airline become better. The consultants suggested that Southwest Air charge passengers to check luggage since the competition was doing it and they could make millions upon millions in additional revenue.
Southwest considered this recommendation but, in the process, asked themselves an important question: “Is this what we stand for?” The executives at Southwest went straight to their purpose statement which reads, “To connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” They ultimately decided that charging baggage fees did not fulfill their purpose.
You have, no doubt, seen their advertising campaigns highlighting the fact that bags fly free, and they have gained an even greater market share in the process. Their revenue has grown to new heights.
In fact, they are the only airline that has been profitable every year. Their corporate culture of putting people first and adhering to their core values has played a big part in their financial success.
It is similar to Chick-fil-A being closed on Sundays to give their employees time to be with their families.
These companies stick to their guns when it comes to their core values and what they believe in. Every company and every person – for that matter – says that they believe in something but when push comes to shove, they are willing to do whatever is quickest, easiest, or reaps short-term benefits.
When you truly walk the talk instead of knee jerk reacting or having situational ethics, then you are truly living out your values and increasing your potential for sustainable success. Being inconsistent can lead to distrust and dysfunction. Let’s not be a kite or a tumbleweed. That is, don’t just go in whichever way the wind blows.
Stick to your principles even if it costs you slightly in the short-term because in the long-run it will be worth it.