Good Wednesday Morning and the sun is shining for now.
Daylight – Yesterday, I spent some time with head honchos at Southwest Airline and learned a few things about staying on your toes and excited in business. First, one of the Crown Jewels in their company is what they internally call the “NOC,” located in Dallas. The NOC is more than just information on takeoff and landing. They said if a flight attendant is short one orange juice in Birmingham or a local weather station reports a thundershower in Long Island, the info winds up going through the NOC and getting documented with action taken.
However, the NOC is not just about knowledge and reaction – its purpose is “positioning ahead of the news or new information.” Southwest has several employees assigned to social media, but their job is far more than just posting. They are challenged to troll social media, find “new news,” and get it to the NOC before it is broken by the traditional media. Again, it’s their culture – position ahead of the information. I can almost see Founder and former CEO Herb Kelleher on the tarmac, getting all the planes pointed in the right direction, while the big airlines are talking about it. The NOC is how a little company becomes a big company. I really did see in it some of the same ideas as how Silicon Valley companies like LinkedIn blitz scale to a bigger company fast. By the way, what’s the best info nugget to ever come into the NOC? When a pilot radioed in in 2014 and said a couple on the plane had just tied the knot.
Also, everyone at Southwest is excited about swapping out their fleet later this year and early next year – “all new planes.” It had the excitement of when the family got a new car. As Southwest is still considered as the best example and perfect company to execute its strategy with its shared values, we can take some lessons home. What is our Crown Jewel in the company, and how do we position ahead of the information? Of course, how do we keep that excitement of “new” in the air even when the company is almost 50-years-old? By the way, I had to change my flight home last night and Southwest didn’t charge me.
Speaking of excitement, yesterday we saw housing recovery pick up more steam with home prices right at record levels going back to 2006. Consumer confidence for April went through the roof as strong numbers show people are going online and racing to trendy boutique stores in the malls. Interesting. It’s going to take a couple of more strong months, but we might be ready to move this economy from a B- to a B+. In the gloom and doom of a political season, it can be easy to forget the fact that the numbers show in virtually every category. We have the best economy in the world – today. I think it mostly has to do with the innovation and agility of a NOC. WSJ