A model for business success today — although admittedly a somewhat maverick model — is Southwest Airlines. Established by Herb Kelleher when he provided outstanding leadership, Southwest Airlines has regularly produced generous returns to its investors and has provided a consistent model of success in an industry not known for consistent models of success.
Several years back Kevin and Jackie Frieberg wrote a book in which they presented some of the practices and principles that made Southwest Airlines a success.
Here are some lessons from Southwest Airlines.
- Lesson Number One: Two things are never said at Southwest Airlines: “It can’t be done” and “It’s not my job.”
- Lesson Number Two: Southwest Airlines hires for attitude and trains for skills. Skills can be learned; attitude is something a person either has or does not have.
- Lesson Number Three: At Southwest Airlines, they make decisions in a hurry. A newly hired vice president of marketing presented a time line for producing some new television spots. The time line stretched out over a six months period. After his presentation, Kelleher said, “Don, I hate to tell you, but we’re talking about doing the spots next Wednesday.”
- Lesson Number Four: At Southwest Airlines, the key to success is discipline. They have determined what their purpose is, and they will allow nothing to divert them from their commitment to that purpose.
- Lesson Number Five: Southwest Airlines has a clear cut understanding of leadership that can be summarized in two keys: Leadership is not in one person and leadership is not a position of power and authority but of service.
SO what does this have to do with our church?
Perhaps, we need to learn some lessons from the Southwest model.
- OUR EXPECTATIONS: Are our dreams congruent with our potential and our God? Or do we often limit our thinking with the negative statement: “It can’t be done?”
- OUR ACTIONS: Are we willing as leaders of the church to do whatever it takes whenever it is required to get the job done? Or do we often withhold our involvement with the limiting statement: “It’s not my job?”
- OUR ATTITUDES: Are we positively enthused about the opportunity to be part of God’s work through our church? Or are we more concerned with doing everything in just the proper way?
- OUR DECISIONS: Are we wiling to act quickly in response to the opportunities God gives us, trusting those who are in leadership? Or do we demand that every person be involved in every decision and that each decision be made only after jumping through all the loops?
- OUR FOCUS: Are we focused on doing whatever it takes to “reach people for Christ, mature people in Christ, and mobilize people through Christ?” Or do we find ourselves bogged down with unimportant and inconsequential activities?
- OUR LEADERSHIP: Do we see leadership as a position of power and authority? Or do we see it as an opportunity for service?
Apply the five lessons of the Southwest Model to your church or your organization this week.