I was at a conference today where the director of talent development of Southwest Airlines was a speaker. While this seems a bit removed from a trade show blogger's usual territory, Fiona MacLeod Butts, told the story of the SWA business model and core values and they had some roots in what we usually talk about in this space.
First of all, she got my attention by Thinking in Threes. The culture of SWA is built around these three values:
1. A warrior's spirit
2. A servant's heart
3. And a fun LUVing attitude (her caps and emphasis)
Taking these values to the show manager's world is easy and a good model. In our business we have to be the front line for our marketing efforts: we are the warriors for marketing. We make sure it all happens professionally, completely and on time: we do it with a servant's heart. And I have rarely ever not had fun working on a trade show, either before, after or during a show. Successful manager's love what they do.
Lesson learned: by sustaining their company with these cultural guidelines, SWA has seen a real ROI reflected in their less than 5% turnover rate. If we as trade show professionals implement these basic values, we should see a real return of our own.
(thanks to the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce and their annual Human Resources conference)