Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Herb’s Thoughts May Help You “Do things”

I often use a famous quote by Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, in my presentations. Many years ago when asked if Southwest had a strategic plan, Herb replied:

“We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.”

Today, I just wanted to share some additional thoughts from Herb:

The tangible things your competitors can go out and buy.  But they can’t buy your spirit.  So it’s the most powerful thing of all.

Threat your people well and they’ll treat you well.

Communication needs to be a continuous stream of one-on-one conversations.  It has to be part of your fabric; it has to be something that you do really as a product of your soul.

We have tried to say to our people, “You don’t have to put on a mask, you don’t have to be an automaton when you come to work. You can just be yourself.” Wasn’t it Robert Frost who said, “Isn’t it a shame that people’s minds work furiously until they get to work?” Well, that’s because they feel that they become artificial and constrained by the workplace

Ready, fire, aim   (CPAs ready, aim, aim, aim) – – The world moves so quickly, you don’t have a lot of time to fool around with aiming, because by the time you’re finished aiming, somebody else will already be there. So get out there, do it, and clean up the mistakes afterward.

Advice for a brand new CEO – First of all, they have to focus intently upon what’s important and what’s unimportant, not be trapped in bureaucracy and hierarchy. Be results- and mission-oriented. Keep it as simple as they possibly can, so that the values and the destination of the organization are well understood by all the people that are part of it — so that they can feel that they are truly participants in it. I don’t know whether it was Calvin Coolidge or Bianca Jagger who said — they’re both thin, that’s why I get them confused — “the business of business is business.” We’ve always said, “The business of business is people.”


  • "Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader."
  • General George S. Patton

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