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Empower Employees at the Speed of Change

Empower Employees, Lead by Example, and Bury Your Competition

How did JetBlue Airways, win the J.D. Power award for highest customer satisfaction for 13 years? How did they build the right culture to revolutionize an industry? Jet Blue’s former EVP of People, Ann Rhoades, shows you how.

This article contains excerpts from Chief Optimist Magazine.  The article also features Ann in a video talking about innovation, adapting to change, and why it’s important.


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– Per Ann Rhoades, the secret of great cultures is focusing on building a workforce that knows where it’s rooted so it can grow in any direction without losing its identity. Build a dynamic culture so you can build a dynamic business.

– Her philosophy has always been that every company has a culture, but only the great companies build “intentional cultures”. The rest just think of culture as the company picnic or holiday party.

– You start by defining who you are and who you want to be. This is done with a room full of your A players. But once you’re clear about what you stand for you must institutionalize it through accountability and rewards and recognition.

Culture starts on the inside and at the top

chief optimist 1Leaders drive the values. JetBlue is so dedicated to the idea of executives embodying the company’s values that the compensation committee and the values committee each review the CEO’s efforts to embody the values annually. The CEO is held accountable just like everyone else.

A consistent delivery of quality begins inside the company. If you can create a great culture, both internal customers (employees) and external customers will perceive that and be excited about. Then you get better performance.

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