Lessons From Southwest Airlines

- Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review  By LeighAnne Turner

I just finished reading a fantastic book that everyone in a position of leadership should consider investing time to read.  “Lessons In Loyalty: How Southwest Airlines Does It-An Insider’s View is written by former Southwest Airlines employee, Lorraine Grubbs-West. Southwest Airlines is considered one of the top 5 best companies to work for with an employee turnover rate of less than 10%! Through her years working in the Marketing department, Lorraine has gained an understanding of the inner methodology of Southwest Airlines and their success over the past 30 years.

What can you learn from a company that has been recognized for such excellent and consistent customer service?  It all starts with the inside of your organization and spreads outward to the public.  Employees want to learn and grow in their roles and not stagnate.  It is the responsibility of those in management and leadership roles to facilitate that growth. The result is a corporate ethos, like that of Southwest Airlines, that creates a culture of trust and cooperation. It is that cooperation and trust that manifests an attitude of hard work, effort and teamwork within the entire organization. The book is broken down into 9 Loyalty Lessons that are essential to a cohesive atmosphere.

  • Hire Attitude-Train Skills - The principle of hiring nice because you can’t train nice. This means choosing employees who can get along with others, who are respectful, want to be at their job and make efforts to innovate. These people should have values that match the organization.


  • Immerse everyone in the Culture Immediately - Establish an environment that enables employees to identify with the organization and makes them feel valued.


  • Keep ‘Em Learning- There should be professional development opportunities for all employees that has an emphasis on providing training opportunities that promotes the expertise and experience of the leaders.


  • People Give as Good as They Get - Cultivating an insight into the importance of finding value while recognizing and appreciating employees in a systemic manner.


  • Find the Kid in Everyone - Empowering employees to have fun while communicating with customers.


  • Do More with Less - Invest in keeping employees busy. Why? Because being busy contributes to people feeling needed and valued within the organization.


  • Luv ‘Em in the Tough Times – Take care of employees when they are personally going through difficult times.. We ALL hit those times where life just seems to beat you down. Build them up rather than tear them down.


  • Do What’s Right - Do the right thing even when it is not by the book.


  • Nurture the Corporate Family - Develop a sense of family and realize that people are a part of something much larger than themselves. This results in a team that will continually work together towards a focused goal.    

  • This was an excellent book written with a creative and unique perspective from someone who knows firsthand the inner workings of that organization. The 9 insights that are highlighted can be practical lessons for promoting a culture that encourages productivity, hard work and overall success.

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