Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, who sadly died today at the age of 87, was a maverick in every sense of the word. He started his innovative, cost-cutting airline when flights were expensive and few people could afford them. As Herb pointed out, "When I started working on Southwest Airlines, I kid you not, only people flying on business and very wealthy people ever flew."
When he started up Southwest Airlines (then called Air Southwest) in 1967, Herb Kelleher changed all that. By reducing costs throughout the system, he made flying affordable for everyone.
In memory of this tremendously successful entrepreneur, maverick, and business innovator, here are 17 Herb Kelleher quotes that will inspire your own success.
1. "We have a strategic plan -- it's called doing things."
2. "Your people come first, and if you treat them right, they'll treat the customers right."
3. "The essential difference in service is not machines or 'things.' The essential difference is minds, hearts, spirits, and souls."
4. "You have to treat your employees like customers."
5. "You don't hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills."
6. "A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear."
7. "Think small and act small, and we'll get bigger. Think big and act big, and we'll get smaller."
8. "If you're crazy enough to do what you love for a living, then you're bound to create a life that matters."
9. "I tell my employees that we're in the service business, and it's incidental that we fly airplanes."
10. "Just because you don't announce your plan doesn't mean you don't have one."
11. "I forgive all personal weaknesses except egomania and pretension."
12. "If you don't treat your own people well, they won't treat other people well."
13. "The business of business is people."
14. "If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don't need control. They know what needs to be done and they do it."
15. "Leading an organization is as much about soul as it is about systems. Effective leadership finds its source in understanding."
16. "I learned it by doing it, and I was scared to death."
17. "I think my greatest moment in business was when the first Southwest airplane arrived after four years of litigation and I walked up to it and I kissed that baby on the lips and I cried."