Southwest’s crazy Recipe for Business & Personal Success. Book authorized by Herb Kelleher/CEO, enhanced by Pete5/CXO Wiz4biz
SW is unique. If your driving principles are love and fun, can you still make a profit in todays harsh business world? Well, here’s a few stats on Southwest:
- They’re the only airline in America who have had a profit every year since they were founded in 1973
- They’ve grown from 3 planes and 250 employees in 1973 to >600 planes and 46,000 employees in 2012 & 3400 flights/day
- They service 2x as many customers per employee as any other airline
- They have never mass-fired employees
- They have the highest customer ratings among airlines
Is this the way to run an Airline and still have low fares? You bet it is!
History & Lessons. The book is both a history of Southwest and a walk-through of their values and how they do business. And it’s a wonderful read. I found myself laughing out loud many times (ie, when Herb Kelleher, the charismatic CEO, arm-wrestled the CEO of another airline over the right to an advertising slogan. They thought it’d be better than going to court over it, and turned it into a media event called “malice in Dallas” (and got a lot of free publicity out of it, by the way)).
How to Party. My favorite section in the book is about how Southwest parties. They seem to have big & small parties all the time, and they’re not above throwing a Christmas party in July or September, if that’s the only time it’ll fit in the calendar. They use these celebrations to reinforce their culture & values, to keep their shared history alive, and to have fun !!!
Focus on Values. The main message of this book must be that Soutwest’s amazing success doesn’t come in spite of their focus on people, love & fun – but because of it. Their culture has resulted directly in a company that people feel proud to work for: where employees feel like family member; where many employees are willing to walk that extra mile, and where astounding acts of generosity and kindness seem to be the order of the day.
Good Advice. You can read the book simply as an entertaining story, but it is also full of goof advice on how to achieve some of the same result. It’s not in a how-to format, but it’s there.
Southwest shows us what business should be like, and the thought that SW is the exception and not the rule is a little sad. You can change that !!! Create a fantastic Business with great value and fun to work at.
Comments: What lessons did you take away from this article? Do you have anything to add?