We believe everyone can be a leader — that leadership is not the exclusive domain of senior managers. We’re all called to be leaders — to be the link between our vision and our customers. We define leadership as the “act” of establishing, sharing and communicating our vision and the “art” of motivating others to understand and embrace our vision. Leaders are accountable. They share the credit and shoulder the blame. They give others the responsibility and opportunity for success. A good leader inspires a team to have confidence in her or him; a great leader inspires a team to have confidence in themselves.
When a customer is waiting for an answer, we have to be able to respond to them fast, on the spot. That’s a competitive advantage. They consider themselves equal partners in a team effort to achieve our vision. When the team needs help, leaders pitch in just like everyone else. They’re involved. They’re hands on and available. They take personal ownership for a customer’s problem and don’t let go until that problem is solved. No one tells them to do it. They just do it.
The best leaders believe in the inherent knowledge and talent of every associate. They believe our people have the answer to every problem and every opportunity. They empower their people to develop ideas, test them, quantify the results, and then share the good ones with other functions throughout the company.
Leaders connect to our vision. They share their passion and their discipline about how to make our vision come alive. Only when an associate understands how much the leader cares does the associate then permit the leader to lead. Leaders learn from each other. That’s an advantage of being big. We share ideas, give ideas and search for the best ideas. We don’t resist a good idea simply because “it wasn’t invented here.” We’re always searching for the single best way to do something and adopting it wherever it applies — to improve the customer experience, keep customers, attract new ones, increase revenue and reduce expenses. It’s not the strongest or most intelligent who survive in our industry, but those who best adapt to change. By being common where possible and custom where it counts, we can take full advantage of the knowledge, experience and the creativity of all our associates.