In many ways, Southwest Airlines was not unlike any other start-up company in the United States at the time, a couple of visionaries with what they believed was a great idea out beating the street for the capital to give it a shot. This road to viability however, was not what the authors of NUTS! Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success; Kevin & Jackie Freiberg, c.1996Broadway Books, really wanted to tell you. Sure, the founders of Southwest, Rolling King and John Parker choose to enter a business that was dominated by giants who tried to thwart the efforts at every turn. And yes, in the end, the little guy's who were soon to be big boys triumphed and won the chance to compete head to head. The real story however, is the story of way in which Southwest operated from the beginning and has never waned from since its inception, their strategy if you will, of which all of the most important components of success are housed. In the most generic sense, Southwest strategy is to provide the lowest fares with the most flights to any city that Southwest flies. That's the easy part! Sure, Southwest owes much of its success to the pursuit of this strategy. But as the book points out, being the low cost leader, and doing so for as long as Southwest has takes more than good accountants; it takes the hard work of everyone involved thus Southwest has created, communicated, and fostered a company culture that is perhaps the strongest of any in businesses today.
From the beginning, "Southwest's corporate persona was a maverick personality that has determination, a flair for being positively outrageous, the courage to be different, the vulnerability to love, the creativity to be resourceful, and an esprit de corps that bonds these people."(1) These core values would continue to shape Southwest Airlines, as it grew from ten employees to twenty-five thousand, through the hard work and diligent efforts of the leaders like CEO Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett to name just a couple.