Leadership, Southwest Style
If you take a stroll through the hallways of Southwest Airliness
University for People, you may find our vice president of ground
operations talking to a frontline leadership class on how to coach
employees, or you may see our chairman of the board, Herb Kelleher,
addressing our managers during a strategic-planning
Or, you many want to sneak into an executive roundtable session
where senior leaders spend a full day talking with a leadership
group about the state of the company, the current challenges, and
the future opportunities. The University for People is buzzing with
excitement because we dont just say that we develop people, we do
"Hire for attitude and train for skill is a philosophy we have
embraced since our inception. The image most people have of the
Southwest culture is one of good times and great fun. However, as
our CEO Gary Kelly, points out in a recent article, fun is a funny
thing. For us, a good time does not mean throwing parties every
day. It means celebrating the dedication and effort that produce
success. The fun comes from achieving that success while working
with people you enjoy within a company that values you.
If we are not effective in preparing new leaders for new
opportunities, then we are not sufficiently preparing this company
for future success. In our industry, we cant take that risk.
Developing leaders is the key to our survival.