The Southwest Airlines Way | Jody Hoffer Gittell

Summary of: The Southwest Airlines Way
By: Jody Hoffer Gittell


Witness the extraordinary success story of Southwest Airlines, a company that turned a profit every single year since its inception, defying conventional industry thinking. In ‘The Southwest Airlines Way’ by Jody Hoffer Gittell, we explore the significance of relationship-building practices in establishing Southwest as the United States’ leading domestic airline. Throughout the book summary, you will learn the concept of relational coordination, delving into its guiding principles: Shared goals, Shared knowledge, and Mutual respect. Discover the strategies employed by the airline’s leadership and the ten company guidelines which have made this miraculous success possible, transcending the barriers of industries and lessons to benefit any organization.

Southwest Airlines: Mastering the Art of Relationship Building

Southwest Airlines’ exceptional track record of profitability can be attributed to their unique approach to relationship building. Despite the challenges of offering short-haul flights and a point-to-point network, Southwest has created efficient and trouble-free flight processes by fostering relationships both internally and externally. These relationships are considered intangible assets that are crucial to an airline’s success. The concept of relational coordination, achieved through a dedication to shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect, has helped Southwest achieve its goals at every level. This approach has proven to be the secret ingredient in the company’s success and is transferable to any industry looking to streamline efficiency and quality by investing in its relationships.

Southwest Airlines’ Keys to Success

Southwest Airlines’ remarkable success is attributed to the company’s adherence to ten principles that focus on the importance of relational coordination in the airline’s day-to-day operations. While competitors have implemented some of these principles, they have not replicated Southwest’s success due to inconsistencies in their approach. Southwest’s success lies in their execution of each of these principles, which include valuing employee relationships, placing more supervisors at the front line, carefully selecting new hires, resolving conflict, emphasizing the importance of employees’ personal lives, using operations agents as boundary spanners, focusing on improvement rather than blame, promoting job flexibility, fostering positive labor relations, treating suppliers with care, and their fiscal conservatism. By sticking to these principles, Southwest Airlines was able to survive the industry turmoil following 9/11 without laying off any employees. The company’s commitment to caring for its employees has proven to be instrumental in its decades of success, setting Southwest Airlines apart from its competitors.

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