Last week, Emirates airline launched its bold new brand promise: “Fly Better”. When I read the news, I reminisced about their outgoing “Hello, Tomorrow” campaign, which inspired people to greet tomorrow’s unlimited potential, now.
“Hello” is a greeting — a warm welcome to a person, place, or experience. “Tomorrow” is a time, a place, a state of mind — the unlimited possibility of the future. In just two words, Emirates captured the essence of leadership and of life itself, inviting people to seize the day and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.
There is a lesson here for all of us: Tomorrow we can be anywhere, everywhere, and anything. As a leader, this means you must see what’s possible for your people, even when they don’t, and help them to turn that possibility to reality.
Now, Emirates might be waving goodbye to “Hello, Tomorrow”, but its optimism remains. With “Fly Better”, they have taken their core service and pledged to improve it for all. Once again, in two short words, the company is delivering an inspirational promise — and you can do the same.
Step one: replace “fly” with your own core business. Step two: add “better”. And, voila!
Sounds too simplistic? It’s really not. Let’s face it, in one way or another, we are all capable of being better at what we do. The hardest part is making the pledge.
But as Emirates has shown us, doing so can lead to outstanding results.
The drive to be better is hard-wired into Emirates’ DNA. It’s latest brand promise was unveiled on the same day — October 25 — as the airline’s inaugural flight from Dubai to Karachi, but its campaign to be better started long ago. Emirates was the first airline to introduce personal screens in every seat in every class. They led the way for better international telephone and WiFi services onboard. They pioneered private, first-class suites and showers.
With its status already cemented among the aviation greats, it might have been easy for Emirates to grow complacent. But through its “Fly Better” campaign, I am glad to see that complacency couldn’t be further from their minds.
The airline’s new message is a bold promise to the customer and a much-needed reminder to their 100,000 employees that their purpose is to deliver better experiences in every class, every time.
Frankly, Emirates’ promise is a reminder to all of us that we should be leading our employees towards improvement. This is a foundational leadership habit, but unfortunately, many leaders fail to adopt it. The reality is, most employees settle for good enough, and maybe you do too.
When was the last time you got better? Many of us spend our school and college years in classrooms, learning, learning and learning some more. Then, for some reason, at some point, we stop. Often, the result of this is that performance also stagnates.
To encourage improvement in your team, you need to champion the “be better” slogan and model it. That’s the hard part in all this.
You must receive feedback from others, take it onboard and act accordingly. While this sounds like common sense, it is not common practice. The truth is, most people lack the motivation to try new ways to accomplish their task more proficiently.
Making matters worse, the older you get, the harder it is to get better and the more inclined you are to settle for “good enough”. This is because you’ve been doing it “your way” for most of your life.
Over the years, you will have gained a wealth of knowledge, but being someone who knows can prevent you from being someone who learns. Here, the power is in your hands.
Only you can decide if you’ll continue to learn, if you will improve your skills, if you’ll lead better. Just as people choose to stop improving, you can choose to start.
Don’t just lead — lead better.
Tommy Weir is the CEO of the EMLC Leadership Ai Lab and author of “Leadership Dubai Style”. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org