Herb Kelleher is a colorful guy. The industry revolutionizing, straight talking, Wild Turkey swilling founder of Southwest Airlines is famous for creating his business plan on the back of a cocktail napkin and transforming the airline from three jets to the country’s largest low-fare carrier—with 41 straight years of profitability to boot.
Along the way, he has learned a thing or two about leadership and life. Here are 8 of our favorite Kelleher quotes:
- “Power should be reserved for weightlifting and boats, and leadership really involves responsibility.”
- “A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.”
- “We will hire someone with less experience, less education, and less expertise, than someone who has more of those things and has a rotten attitude. Because we can train people. We can teach people how to lead. We can teach people how to provide customer service. But we can’t change their DNA.”
- “You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn’t going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You’re going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people.”
- “I forgive all personal weaknesses except egomania and pretension.”
- “One piece of advice that always stuck in my mind is that people should be respected and trusted as people, not because of their position or title.”
- “It is my practice to try to understand how valuable something is by trying to imagine myself without it.”
- “I’ve found that many of the greatest ideas surface in bars because that’s where many people cultivate inspiration.”
You can catch Herb Kelleher, and other aviation greats, at the U.S. Chamber’s 13th annual Aviation Summit here in Washington, D.C. To learn more, or to register, click here.