American Airlines doesn’t have a mission statement but they have four strategic objectives. And each objective has a visual symbol.
These were rolled out to the airline’s managers at their annual leadership conference last month. They’re sharing it broadly now with employees.
As best I can tell here is what each of the four pillars are all about:
- Make culture a competitive advantage. We’re going to give employees raises and weight loss programs and hope they’re happy enough to do their jobs. We won’t ask them to do any more work. Profit.
- Think Forward Lead Forward. Eliminating seat back video is a bad idea now but we hope in the future you won’t care. That and a bit of the kitchen sink.
Having the right future products seem like creating a world class customer experience (the fourth objective). And being nimble is necessary for delivering value to market quickly (but not delivering power to seats quickly). Dreaming about a vibrant future is what flight attendants are doing when they’re not serving predeparture beverages.
- Ensure long term financial strength. We’ll never lose money again.
- Create a world class customer experience. ConciergeKey members and international business class customers are a priority (in high yield markets only). Everyone else gets less legroom including in domestic first class and smaller lavatories.
It’s easy to look askance at corporate mission language, but I actually think that American’s leadership has a pretty clear idea of where they’re going and what’s important to them. They’re really transparent about it. You can agree or disagree with the strategy, or like or dislike it as a customer. But they aren’t mealy mouthed about it at all. And I have to respect that.