A Company Who Get’s It, and a Company Who Doesn’t.
I had to fly to Orlando and Maryland this week. And as I took many plane rides, I got to see a remarkable contrast in cultures. And it re-enforced why a company who gets culture can simply execute so much better then a company who doesn’t get culture.
As you may know, United Airlines and Continental are going through a merger. I didn’t really don’t know much about either airline until this week. I was listening to a Continental passenger relay a comment upon landing from the stewardess. “Thank you for flying continental…um I mean United…….well, we are really continental still at heart.” It was kind of funny. But you could just sense the underlying tone in the comment.
On my flight back, I approached a United desk. And as I was checking in, I asked them about their merger. Three unhappy faces looked at me, and said they didn’t want it to go through. They were going to have to merge with an “un-unionized” airline and that wouldn’t be good.
Nice people. Good service. But clearly unenthusiastic about the merger and concerned about the culture clash it would bring.
Contrast this to what I saw, at the same airport, with another merger. It as the acquisition of Air Tran by Southwest Airlines. As I walked by the Air Tran terminals, Southwest had dressed up the terminals with messages of love to the Air Tran team (it as Valentines Day). “Air Tran Will You Be Our Valentine?” decorated with balloons and decorations. (See picture above) Nothing fancy. Just fun.
I wonder how the Air Tran people felt when they walked in and saw that? I wonder ho much more receptive to the merger they will be? I wonder how much more smoothly the integration of operations and culture will be? I wonder how much more profitable this merger will be? Contrast this to the United and Continental merger.
A great culture simply make things work better. It is why, at Nurse Next Door, we have put so much work into creating such a raving fan culture. And it is the chief reasons why I feel so confident about our rapid franchise expansion across the United States.