Most businesses are customer centered. Customer comes first regardless. Not so, Southwest airlines, where customer actually comes in second. The employee comes in first. Clearly this is against convention ("rules") but it does achieve quite a bit. Southwest Airline employees are one of the most motivated and productive work force in the industry and this results in happier customers as well. The airline attained success which is primarily due to its highly motivated and productive workforce. They have fewer employees per aircraft, fly fewer passengers per employee and have more available seat miles per employee. Because of the highly motivated workforce its turnaround time is much less compared to competitors who also enhance its productivity in terms of equipment utilization. SWA has achieved the Triple Crown (best on-time performance, fewest lost bags, and fewest passenger complaints-in the same month) nine times, which is a rare feat. Happy employees translate into happy customers. The other thing is Unions. Unions have always been a problem in the airline Industry. But for Southwest airlines they are actually a strength. SWA is a case study where Union and the management are not adversaries but partners in a successful business.
The Hierarchy of SWA is also different. ...
In most organizations, management is segregated from line workers and both make their money in different ways which are contrary to each other. While workers make more money by working overtime and longer hours, management make their money by increasing profit , which often involve cutting working hours and laying off line workers. But in SWA everybody makes money if they work longer hours and everybody makes money if the company is profitable.
A Brief Study of First Break all the rules in the context of SWA:
"The Book First Break all the rules was a scholarly research with far reaching conclusions. We now try to link the key ideas from the book to the SWA way. The key ideas were condensed in a summary by Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla
The best managers reject conventional wisdom.
There is nothing conventional about how SWA operates. SWA if anything is totally different from all other airlines.
The best managers treat every employee as an individual.
SWA has a clear cut philosophy in this regard. Each employee is an essential and individual cog in the SWA success story.
The best managers never try to fix weaknesses; instead they focus on strengthsand talent.
SWA has some real constraints as most airlines do. SWA does not try to fix that what can't be fixed. But offers best, what it can do best.
The best managers know they are on stage everyday. They know their people are watching every move they make.
SWA philosophy of managers itself entails leading from the front. A manager can work the counter just as easily as put together a boardroom presentation.
Measuring employee satisfaction is vital information for your investors.
SWA employees always record high level of satisfactions and that is reflected in the stock prices of SWA.