Herb Kelleher didn’t.
The co-founder of Southwest Airlines was well-known for his quick wit, eccentricity, and even an infamous arm wrestle, as a devoted champion of people, culture and customer service.
He built an airline with unprecedented growth and profitability, and is not given enough credit as one of the greatest business leaders of the 20th century.
And he did it all being himself.
As the world says goodbye to Mr. Kelleher, here are just a few powerful messages to remember him by:
“If the employees come first, then they’re happy…. A motivated employee treats the customer well. The customer is happy so they keep coming back, which pleases the shareholders. It’s not one of the enduring green mysteries of all time, it is just the way it works.”
“Power should be reserved for weightlifting and boats, and leadership really involves responsibility.”
And my personal favourite… “Look guys, if you ain’t got culture, you ain’t got shit.”
RIP Herb. Your leadership has taken us much farther than your airplanes.