Virgin sacrifices 13 at the altar

In yesterday’s newspaper, The Age, there was a story of how Virgin Atlantic sacked 13 of its cabin staff after they criticised the airline and some of its passengers on the social networking website, Facebook. The official reason given was that the staff’s behaviour was "totally inappropriate" and "brought the company into disrepute".

I say they were sacked because they weren’t loving the business. They weren’t even respecting it. And I think it’s a great move from Virgin – I love it.

Some people are under the misapprehension that love in business is about being nice. It’s not. And let me say upfront how much I hate nice. You can tell me I’m ugly, I’m full of it ... you can insult my mother. But don’t call me nice. Actually ... probably better to leave my mother out of it too. But I digress. Love in business is not about being nice.

A client of mine had an issue with a new team member a few weeks back. This guy (the new staff member, not my client) took a sick day in his first week. Took another sick day the following Monday, which happened to the be the Monday after his team had won the grand final. And he treated it as business as usual.

My client asked me what to do, whether to give him another chance, have a talk to him. I said no. This guy wasn’t loving or respecting the business. And my client knew how it was going to end. In his heart he knew the guy wasn’t going to last. Better to rip the bandaid off in one go as soon as you know than try and be nice about it.

Loving the business is a standard. Virgin says that you have to be proud of Virgin to work there. We say make sure your people treat the business with the love and respect it deserves.

Are your people loving your business?