Insider Exclusive: We Grow What We Feed

Insider Exclusive: We Grow What We Feed

Creating a culture of ownership

By John Kennedy

I am writing this article from 37,000 feet in the air while on my way home from Dallas, Texas. I just spent two days with an organization that is poised for exceptional growth and greatness in 2018 and beyond. I am always grateful for the chance to be a catalyst of change within organizations and continue to enjoy the opportunities.

I am buckled in tightly and enjoying some fine peanuts, water, and humor from the Southwest Airlines staff.

Our flight attendant, Todd, just asked for a show of hands in answer to his question, “How many of you know that Southwest Airlines allows bags to fly for free?”

Most, if not all of us, raised our hands in the affirmative.

Todd then asked, “So then why did you bring them on?”

We all chuckled. Those who fly Southwest know that this is the company culture. This is what they do. This is how they roll/fly.

Southwest is an employee-owned company. Employees perform their job functions with one thing in mind: “I am an owner and my actions, behaviors, and efforts need to be one of ownership. I treat this company, this flight, and these customers as if they are my own.”

With that type of buy in and engagement, you can set your company up to not just be good, but be great!!

My program, LeaderSHIFT, helps leaders make that shift from being an effective manager to a truly successful leader. The concept of LeaderSHIFT comes from the ability of leaders to not just change the behaviors of their employees (a short-term fix), but to literally change their mind-set for the long-term success of their employees, company, and customers. My seminars, articles, and videos all address the difference between this “transactional management” and “transformational leadership”—that is, behavioral change vs. meaningful change.

My client took the very first step this week in changing the mind-set of the team by embracing the concept of employee ownership. Building a culture of ownership is the first step to creating an exceptional customer experience.

If you feed your team, you grow your team.

If your feed your business, you grow your business.

If you feed yourself, you grow yourself.

We grow what we feed!


The team is now willing and able to commit to a high level of accountability, communication, and professionalism that would be the envy of any owner.

You can be willing to change, but if you are not able to, it becomes a big challenge.

You may be able to change but if you are not willing to, it becomes a big dead end!!


Creating a culture of both willingness and ability that will drive a “shift” in the mind-set of the team to become owners of your company is the key to meaningful change.

That change needs to begin with you—and your effort to make a LeaderSHIFT can start today!

Visit John at or for more information about LeaderSHIFT and TeamSHIFT.

ABA members have exclusive, discounted access to year-round professional development with John. Through our exclusive partnership with John Kennedy, each ABA member is offered 50% off John’s video subscription program!  USE COUPON CODE "ABA50" TO GAIN VALUABLE ACCESS TO WORLD-CLASS TRAINING. Click here to grab a quick take away with one of John’s videos highlighting the importance of “Active Listening” in every aspect of life. From there you can subscribe, begin your education journey, and enjoy your 50% off ABA Member Benefit.

John Kennedy is an author, speaker, and strategist specializing in cultural shift and change that drive profits, people, and processes to new levels in our industry.

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.


Melanie Hinton, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, ABA
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