Lesson #16. A Culture Has its Own Language


In Southwest Airlines Lesson #15: Invent your own Culture and put a top person in charge of it, it  talked about the need to be unique. A key component of doing this is creating your own language. So today we visit Lesson # 16: A culture has its own language.  

Here is a snippet from Southwest Airlines:

“Throughout this feature you’ll see some unusual wording, spelling, and capitalization: pilots are Pilots, passengers are Customers, and love is LUV. That’s all part of Southwest’s focus on its internal Culture. These people and that LUV are too important for ordinary spelling. Call it the Southwest dialect. It’s a meaningful thing.” 

If you look at some of the greatest enduring brands on the planet, they have followed the same path as Southwest. Think Starbucks; did we know what a “barista” was, or a “venti” “frappaccino” was before Starbucks arrived? Think Disney; they call their employees “cast members” who show up on the “stage” (their place of work). See my post “Why Disney Kicks Ass at Living Purpose”.

At Nurse Next Door, we also have our own language. Some people think its weird, and that’s OK. The people who think its weird simply don’t fit our culture. (one of the reason why this works in building culture is that it is another “self select” mechanism, where those who don’t “fit” will really stand out)So what does having our own language do for us?It gives us our own identity.

Nurse Next Door isn’t going to sound like, look like, or feel like anyone else in our business. And that is vital if you are trying to build a differentiated brand.

It re enforces our own core purpose, and core values, at every interaction with our company.  When a Nurse Next Door franchise partners need to call head office, they are not calling “corporate”, they are calling Heart Quarters. When our customers call us, they don’t hear “good morning, how can I help you? They hear “good morning, how can I make your life better today”

It re enforces our purpose and our core values for our people, and drives behavior,  on a daily basis. When our people pick up the phone and say “How can I make your life better today” every single time they do it, it becomes more difficult to say “no” to someone, or not do whatever it takes to help them.When our Care Designer’s introduce themselves as Designers vs Managers, the entire scope of their role is different. Their job is to be creative and design care instead of doing the “usual” and “managing” care.

When a customer needs some attention, it isn’t “what customers are upset? It is “what customers need some “luv”?”

It aligns with our brand. A culture and a brand cannot be two separate things. They have to be one in the same. If they are not, then you will not have congruency within your business. And when your customer gets receive their product or their service, and it doesn’t match the “marketing and branding you convey, then the disconnect will be apparent pretty quickly and the brand will suffer.

What we convey on the outside, should be in complete alignment with how we act on the inside. And visa versa. This is how you start to build a powerful brand. Its what Southwest airlines has mastered. And it is what we at Nurse Next Door are trying to do.

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