Southwest Airlines: How Herb Kelleher Led the Way Ashley Craig & Satyam Patel “A Symbol of Freedom.” Mission Statement The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit History More than 38 years ago, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher came together and decided to start a different kind of airline in Texas. They began with one simple notion: “If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline.” And they ended up being right! They pride themselves on humorous slogans such as “Just Plane Smart” and “The Somebody Else Up There Who Loves You” They have a CAO(Chief Apology Officer) who handles all customer complaints and apologies Only operate Boeing 737’s to keep costs and fares low For the thirty-seventh consecutive year, Southwest has posted a profit! The “LUV” Factor Southwest has been in LUV with their Customers since they began service to San Antonio and Houston from Love Field in Dallas on June 18, 1971. As the Company and Customers grew, the LUV grew too! Then in 1977, the stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticket symbol “LUV.” Over the years, the LUV has spread from coast to coast and border to border thank to the hardworking Employees and their LUV for Customer Service. Leading and Leadership Leadership: the process of inspiring other to work hard to accomplish important tasks The foundation for leadership success rests with an ability to make things happen in ways that serve the goals of the term or organization. This is an issue of “power,” and leadership essentially begins with the ways a manager uses power to influence the behavior of other people CASE QUESTIONS: 1.) Does the history of Southwest Airlines indicate that Herb Kelleher was a visionary leader, a servant leader, or both? Why? Both! A visionary leader is one who brings to the situation a clear and compelling sense to the future, as well as an understanding of the actions needed to get there successfully. Kelleher knew that he needed to take care of his “internal customers” in order to take care of his external customers. A servant leader is based on commitment to serving others, to helping people use their talents to full potential while working together for organizations that benefit society. Kelleher wanted both of his customers to be happy and have a good time. For example, offering/playing games for those who were delayed on a flight. 2.) What leadership style or styles predominate at Southwest Airlines, and how has this influenced the firms organizational culture and management practices? We believe that the human relations style of leadership was most dominant since Kelleher prioritized human relationships over tasks. He treated his employees really well, listened to their opinion, and threw parties for their accomplishments. Those happy employees, in turn, treated their customers really well and made them feel welcome. That is why Southwest Airlines is ranked number 1 of all US airlines for lowest customer complaints. 3.) Has Southwest Airlines reached the point where something “new” is needed by and from it top leadership? From all the theories, models and insights of this chapter, what is the best advice you can give Gary Kelley as a guide for successfully following Kelleher and Barrett to lead Southwest today? We strongly believe that there is no advice to be given to Kelley. Why fix something that isn’t broken? The company has maintained low costs and high customer satisfaction for the past 40 years, and is modernizing its plane cabins as we speak. As long as he continues in the vision of Kelleher, he will do great things as the new CEO. "Our people are our single greatest strength and most enduring long term competitive advantage." -Gary Kelly, CEO Southwest Airlines Gary Kelley has had time to bring his personal leadership to Southwest Airlines. But, he has certainly faced some trying times with the economic recession. How well is Kelley doing? Has he demonstrated that he has what it takes to lead Southwest to future success in the turbulent environment of the airline industry? Kelley has definitely proven himself after being appointed CEO. Not only did Southwest buy AirTran Airways last year, Kelley is working on expanding into new markets, adding flights to heavily trafficked domestic airports, and seeking cross-border alliances with foreign carriers.