Delta CEO Richard Anderson's staunch belief in the importance of corporate culture was spotlighted recently in a Fortune column on leadership.The piece, titled “4 Lessons Delta’s CEO learned from 9/11,” posed the question: “How do you build a company’s culture?”
“One of the reasons I returned to the airline business in 2007 was to help revive Delta’s historic employee-focused culture,” Anderson said. “Nearly 70 years ago, the airline’s founder, C.E. Woolman, put together a simple list of values for new employees that focused on integrity, honesty, support and compassion for coworkers while always putting oneself in the customer’s shoes.
“That culture was strained during the dark years after 9/11. But even at the most difficult times, Delta’s employees kept the enterprise going. The culture, more than anything else, saved the company.”
Anderson went on to discuss leading by example, employee buy-in and “tending the garden."
"If you’re successful, it can be tempting to assume the culture is strong and will always be there. But things have a way of slipping once you’ve achieved your goals. That’s why we raise the bar on our plans every year and periodically revisit our rules to make sure they are still relevant," Anderson said, before concluding:
"Hopefully, if you always remember to put your culture at the center of what you do, it will serve your employees, customers and investors very well for many years."