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JetBlue’s Success – A Corporate Culture Based on Values

By Ann Rhoades

As a member of the JetBlue Airways board of directors, it was wonderful to see our team given well-deserved recognition by Fortune Magazine this week (Special Feature:  Nothing blue about JetBlue, September 3, 2009) for its successful corporate culture.  Contrary to what we typically hear in the press, this story is a tribute to all JetBlue crewmembers who live and breathe the corporate values everyday.  Having been a member of both the Southwest Airlines and JetBlue teams, I can tell you that each has a unique corporate culture, and both are known for strong values-driven leaders.  It is time to start recognizing leaders who do it right and who mirror the values in their behaviors everyday and in every interaction with their team and their customers.

Congratulations, JetBlue, for your commitment to getting the right results the right way!  The People Ink team is privileged and blessed to have worked with Dave Barger, JetBlue CEO, and his team to develop a values-centric model for creating a unique culture.  The model is simple, but difficult to execute, because it requires a commitment to a set of core values and associated behaviors.  It also requires a commitment to hire and retain “A” players who mirror your values as well as a systematic method to reward and recognize these players.  It includes creating a model for customer loyalty that exceeds their expectations.  It demands that every member of the team keep a real discipline about the financial metrics.  This sounds so simple, but few have really been able to deliver on this simple-sounding model.  Maybe that is because it starts with having leaders like Dave Barger at Jet Blue.  At the end of the day, success is all about leadership!

For complete Fortune Magazine article, September 3, 2009, go to:

For more about People Ink, go to:

  • Comment (4)
  • Could you give me an example of hiring people with right values that would allow the Jetblue’s best financial rewards in future?

  • How could JetBlue rise the financial rewards? By hiring people with sort of values and behavior would help JetBlue to satisfy and bring back customers?

    • The airlines industry is a competitive place. It requires keeping expenses low in order to survive. Building a good workplace culture does not require increasing pay, but it is our contention that hiring people with the right values can support a good customer experience. JetBlue has won the JD Powers award 11 years in a row. Proof that culture and service is a big part of their success.

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