I have a friend who is a chef. For over 20 years he has been virtually unable to enjoy eating out in the way most normal people do. He constantly assesses the food, service, ambiance and all the things that chefs would look for. I have been involved in organizational development for the last 25 years and I too find myself casting a critical eye as a consumer, perhaps overly critical, constantly looking at the details that make or break the experience in the same way. I’m sure many of you are the same.
There have been many organizations that have really impressed me, but over the years, but 2 organizations have remained at the top of my list consistently. Organizations that as a result I continue to patronize, because I feel I know what they will deliver and understand and they will deliver value.
The first is Emirates Airlines. I mentioned at the start that I look for the ‘details’ that make or break the experience, well they seem to understand detail. They understand in the way that many of their competitors simply do not. They have also very cleverly shown their ‘working out’ as they develop and prepare to deliver their strategy.
‘Tell them what you are going to do.
Then tell them you did it’
I spoke with a friend about Emirates and what sets them apart, and he simply said ‘well they throw money at things and that makes them a more glamorous options for many’. Well I disagree. They certainly do market themselves well these days, but marketing is nothing if you fail to deliver the experience, and the success of their delivery has little to do with money, and more to do with people. I believe that when you watch Emirates Staff at all levels they all seem to understand for whom they work and what is expected from them, and its clearly working.
The second company is GE, or General Electric. As someone who studies the facets of leadership, GE have had two great examples in recent times, with very different styles. But as Jeffery Immelt, the current Chairman and CEO says
‘Its like a golf swing, all are different, but its all the same at the point of impact’.
GE have managed to maintain a very communicative, visible, recognizable leadership, without them becoming the story or overshadowing the brand, in the way that many feel Steve Jobs did with Apple.
The message from the GE leadership have consistently spoken about the level of expectation they feel as leaders to develop and empower the people who work with them. Although there are many companies who say these things General Electric seem to deliver at a level that many of the others do not. ‘Walking the walk’ would be a much over used, but in this case apt phrase to use.
Like Emirates, I feel that you only get to see what General Electric are made of, when as a consumer you feel they have messed up. Its then how they react that is important.
I am sure some of you will have an argument as to why I am wrong, or why I may be over looking a better organization. I would be happy to hear them, in the meantime here is an apt quote from the other GE leader of note.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
― Jack Welch