The business literacy initiative that Delta Air Lines launched last May wasn't just another training event. Sponsored by president and COO Fred Reid, the initiative included 160 of Delta's senior leaders. To say that it was unusual for a group of that caliber to engage in a single activity for the entire day is an understatement. Their presence indicates this initiative's vital role as an enabler of Delta's economic recovery.
"We're raising the level of engagement," says Bill Kline, chief learning officer of the Atlanta-based airline carrier. "Employees are going to know more about the business, so leaders will have to be more engaged with their employees. They'll have to be better communicators and problem solvers and have better interpersonal skills because we're raising the level of accountability."
Business literacy is just one of several business strategies supported by training and development that Delta was working on prior to the terrorist attacks on the United States last September. All were aligned with Delta's vision of becoming "the world's greatest airline," adopted when Leo Mullin came in as CEO. In the aftermath of 9/11, however, Delta shifted its strategic focus to "survive and thrive."
Despite the fact that Delta had to cut 12,000 people from its workforce and 15 percent of its flights, the airline's commitment to training and development did not waver.
An Open Book