9 hours & 37 minutes: How long awesome takes

Gary, our CEO, has always admired WestJet. He resonates with their people-focused, caring philosophy. Not to mention he loved their latest WestJet Christmas Miracle: Spirit of Giving video campaign.

So when it came time for him to book a flight recently, they seemed an easy choice – a company that shared his beliefs and values.

After booking his tickets, he was slightly chagrined to find he couldn’t pick his seats in advance to ensure his wife and he sat together until 24 hours before unless he paid extra.

Then when he went to do it that day – busy with preparation for leaving – he found he was required to submit documentation he had already provided.

When he called to get clarity on the seating arrangements, he was told the wait for the service rep was 31-47 minutes, but if he left his phone number, they’d call him back as soon as one became available.

Three hours later he was still waiting.

This isn’t to say that WestJet isn’t a great company with excellent employees. Perhaps this instance was an anomaly. However, when two of the core values listed on their website are to be appreciative of people and keep commitments, WestJet clearly slipped up in this case.

Maybe if WestJet had a Core Values document like Zappos.com, this wouldn’t have happened. The Zappos.com document is a work of art and a dream for employees. Not only does it simply and clearly state the company mission and vision in plain language, it connects all the core values to them and explains in-depth what they mean and how they affect the employees daily work and the success of the company as a result.

Zappos.com takes it even further by asking simple questions at the end of each core value explanation to get employees thinking about how they can bring more of that value into their work.

The first core value is to “Deliver WOW through Service.” There is probably no better example of this than Customer Loyalty Team Member Shea Labus’ 9 hour and 37 minute call with a customer named Lisa.

That's caring about your values.

It’s easy enough to write down a mission and values on your website, it’s much harder to clearly explain what they mean to employees and how they do their work.

It’s even harder to ensure they become living and breathing parts of the organization.

But when you do, it’s magic.

It’s the difference between a 9 hour and 37 minute call and one that never comes.