A big thank you to Amber, Jessica Mann, and Rachel McIntosh for this interview, we LUV this!. Even before launching their Super User program, Southwest got actively involved in the SAPinsight Community. Now Rachel serves key roles, including our #SEE17 Charity Lead!!! But of course! Reader, come join us this year and SEE why Southwest LUVs Super Users and SAPinsight!
Interview by Amber Christian, Founder – ConsultAce
“All you need is LUV. All you need is LUV. All you need is LUV, LUV, LUV is all you need”. I know you were singing that Beatles tune along with me. But how do you get that LUV factor? This week in our Superuser Experience Event (SEE17) preview, I had the opportunity to interview Jessica Mann and Rachel McIntosh from Southwest Airlines. They will be presenting “The LUV Factor – SWA’s Approach to Super User Selection’.
Tell us about the origins of Southwest Airlines super user program – what made you decide to start a program? Why now?
Southwest did not invest in a Super User program when SAP was implemented in 2010. The Center of Excellence Team was formed within the Finance Department and consisted of Super Users from the business that helped implement SAP. While the COE Team supports our Business Customers, it had become difficult to retain in-depth knowledge of the Business’s processes over the long term to ensure a proper level of SAP expertise remained within Business. After researching, connecting with the SAPinsight Community, and attending their Super User annual event, it became apparent to management that a Super User Program could help increase user adoption, utilization, and ROI expectations on SAP.
When you first started the program, how many people were involved in the organization and planning? What were their roles?
Jessica: Our COE Director identified the need to start a Super User Program and received the support from our Executive Sponsor, the VP Controller of Finance. I was provided the opportunity and task of planning and building our first SWA Super User Program. We spoke with our CFO and Finance VPs to gain full support of the Program within the Finance Department. We brought Ginger Luttrell in to help me build a platform for the Program within the Controller Organization using a proven Model, the award winning SUPERmodel developed by Ginger. I hired Rachel McIntosh to fulfill the Super User Leader role for our Program.
Tell us a little more about your secret sauce. Can you share one tip from your upcoming presentation to pique our curiosity?
Know your audience and recognize the fundamental qualities of the ideal Super User Leader and Super User. Also, taking the time to be thoughtful and disciplined in your approach. It was key for Southwest that we started the Super User Program small, within the scope of the Controller Organization, in order to increase knowledge, gain some wins, and continue to expand where it makes sense.
Can you tell us one of the funniest moments along the way to developing your program?
Jessica: Looking back, I think one of our funniest moments happened during the final day of our Super User Kickoff. To close out our kickoff, we showed a great video on the First Follower “The Lone Nut”: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy. In the video, a guy is awkwardly dancing alone, in a painful to look kind of way, but then another brave soul decides to join him – the first follower. Within a few minutes, many others join in on the crazy dancing and those who haven’t joined in start to feel like ‘outsiders’. I asked our Super User Team to stand up and join me, the Lone Nut, to help start a Super User movement within Southwest. I then proceeded to dance like a crazy person!
Rachel: Every Super User’s eyes widened and they froze, total deer in the headlights look, in the moment as they attempted to digest the situation. Their inner monologue was something along the lines of “Is this really happening?”
Jessica: I was dancing ridiculously, thinking “Yikes, they might not get it – this could really get awkward.”
Rachel: She’d literally be that Leader who one time danced and made everyone feel uncomfortable living in infamy as the crazy dancing manager!
Jessica: However, alas, everyone picked up on the fact that I wanted them to join me! They started dancing with laughter and smiles filling the room. We turned up the music and did the locomotive train out the door to ‘We Are Family’ – off to start our movement!
Rachel: It wasn’t just a great funny moment but really set the tone for the Team.
So how about you? Are you ready to be the lone nut advocating for and helping get your Super User program started or revitalized? If you are, we are ready for you at the Superuser Experience Event (SEE17) October 25th-27th! Register here for Superuser Experience Event (SEE17) October 25-27th! And stay tuned as we share more articles profiling the incredible talent presenting and attending the Superuser Experience Event (SEE17) – We SEE you!