Southwest Airlines Shares 40 Lessons For Business Leaders

Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 40th year and was kind enough to share in its in-flight magazine 40 lessons it learned since 1971.  The lessons provide good tips for business leaders.

If you missed the full list, here are some of the highlights:
  • Invent your own culture and put a top person in charge of it
  • A crisis can contain the germ of a big idea.
  • Simplicity has value.  For Southwest, simplicity means using 737s for most of its fleet, which makes maintenance more cost-effective and allows more efficient training for flight crews and ground crews.
  • Remember your chief mission.
  • Take your business, not yourself, seriously.
  • Put the worker first.  For Southwest, that meant being the first U.S. airline to offer a profit-sharing plan, in 1974.  Employees now own 13 percent of the airline.
  • The web ain't cool, it's a tool.  Southwest was the first U.S. airline to establish a home page.  By 2010, boasted more unique visitors than any other airline, and ranked as the second largest travel site.
  • Get Green.  That means for Southwest embracing conservation.
  • Manage permanence.  Southwest knows what not to change, even when it's managing change.
  • Keep the idea simple enough to draw on a napkin.
  • Never rest on your laurels.
  • It's about customer service, not scalability.
  • Promote from within.
  • Recognize your luck.
One can learn a lot of Southwest!


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