At that time, the airline shared 40 business lessons it has learned since 1971. The lessons provide good tips for business leaders.
Here are some of the lesson highlights:
- Invent your own culture and put a top person in charge of it.
- A crisis can contain the germ of a big idea.
- Simplicity has value. For Southwest, simplicity means using 737s for most of its fleet, which makes maintenance more cost-effective and allows more efficient training for flight crews and ground crews.
- Remember your chief mission.
- Take your business, not yourself, seriously.
- Put the worker first. For Southwest, that meant being the first U.S. airline to offer a profit-sharing plan, in 1974. Employees now own 13 percent of the airline.
- The web ain’t cool, it’s a tool. Southwest was the first U.S. airline to establish a home page. By 2010, Southwest.com boasted more unique visitors than any other airline, and ranked as the second largest travel site.
- Get Green. That means for Southwest embracing conservation.
- Manage permanence. Southwest knows what not to change, even when it’s managing change.
- Keep the idea simple enough to draw on a napkin.
- Never rest on your laurels.
- It’s about customer service, not scalability.
- Promote from within.
- Recognize your luck.