Core Values: Norfolk Southern Railway

By | October 28, 2018

[October 28, 2018]  Railroads are not dead and they’re not dying.  While this seems to be the current thinking of logisticians, railways across the world are making a comeback from the days of deteriorating rail lines, outdated equipment, and dilapidated structures.  Norfolk Southern Railway is one of those making headlines in modernization and efficiency.

Norfolk Southern is making innovative changes in how railroads do business by cutting costs, delivering product quicker and more efficiently, and by edging their way into what has been a traditional trucking market.  This is being done because they are focusing on their core values and every employee understands it.

Here are the core values of Norfolk Southern Railway.1  Note how similar this list is with other large organizations because these make NSR a very successful company:

  • Safety: We put safety first by taking care of the people around us and following the rules.
  • Performance: We are performance driven and committed to providing quality customer service. We act on facts and are accountable for results.
  • Integrity: We do the right thing. We are open, fair, honest, and straightforward.
  • Respect: We believe in the importance of all of our stakeholders. We value the ideas and beliefs of co-workers.
  • Innovation: We constantly seek new ideas and creative solutions to business challenges.
  • Teamwork: We believe that working together always produces the best results.

The NS vision is to “Be the safest, most customer-focused, and successful transportation company in the world.”  Given their core values list, this makes sense in a number of ways.  It is a testament to their emphasis on safety that working on railroads in the U.S. is not listed in the top most dangerous jobs in America; as measured by fatal accidents [emphasis added].

NS is also known for their innovative and safety conscious leadership.  If they keep this up, their growth and success will continue.


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “Core Values: Norfolk Southern Railway

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Dennis, I could not find the official list for the Democratic Party either that identified their core values. When I went to their official website, I got targeted by popups to donate money and couldn’t find a way around it. I find that irritating.

    2. Joe Omerrod

      I’m not surprised by what you guys found (or didn’t find).

  1. Lynn Pitts

    Gen. Satterfield, a very good article today. Others have suggested companies that have failed as a new series. I would suggest also doing a few on very old companies from the past, like the White Star Line (aka The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company).

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Some similar companies:
      Bank of New York-Mellon: Est 1784
      Bowne: Est 1775
      Caswell-Massey: Est 1752

  2. Kenny Foster

    Valuable set of core values for study. I especially like those that deal with railroads because they are the types of companies that are on the fringes that are slowing making a resurgence. That is due to great leadership.

  3. Greg Heyman

    I worked on the Santa Fe RR as a young man and never forgot the great experiences. You are correct on pointing out that SAFETY is their primary core value. Thanks.

  4. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Your series on ‘core values’ has been invaluable for my students. I have them read each as a one-page handout and tell me what they think is what makes a company with leadership so successful. The discussions are very entertaining.

  5. Max Foster

    Wilson below recommended a company that went bankrupt. I agree and would add that writing up the core values (if they had any listed) for any failed large company. Enron comes to mind but I’m sure there are plenty to chose from.

    1. Wilson Cox

      Yes, it is. I would recommend a large company that went bankrupt as your next one.

  6. Danny Burkholder

    Yes, I do believe that the US railroads are making a comeback. You would think with such long distances especially in the western US that RRs would be more efficient carriers of bulk materials.

  7. Roger Yellowmule

    Another nice set of core values. Thanks. It allows me to contrast and compare these successful companies.

    1. Anita

      Good list, I agree. It wouldn’t hurt me to read more of these.

    2. Darryl Sitterly

      I’m a big fan of the core values series and would think they are among the most read blog posts on Gen. Satterfield’s website.

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