Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines’ co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, said it best: “The business of business is people.” This belief is the basis of Southwest’s exemplary culture. Even though the company honors and values all people involved in its business - employees, customers, supplier/vendors and shareholders - the company puts its employees first. Southwest Airlines recognizes that treating its employees well creates happy customers. That equation is proven by the company’s outstanding business results, which include:
What other US airline can boast these same results?
I was fortunate to have been invited to attend Southwest Airlines' "Culture Connection" in December 2017 in Dallas, Texas. It was a half-day event that showcased the company’s methods of strengthening, reinforcing, and maintaining its strongly positive culture. I applaud Southwest Airlines for offering this twice-yearly “peek under the covers” of their culture at no cost to the attendees. In contrast, Zappos and Disney charge fees to attend similar events they host.
Here are five lessons learned from Southwest’s Culture Connection day:
From the desk of