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Who Was Herb Kelleher?

A year ago, I had the pleasure to speak for the CHI Health Home leadership team in Omaha, Nebraska. Anybody in healthcare understands how vital it is to not only communicate effectively, but to make connections with people. I spoke on “The Magic of Connecting” and one of the principles I covered was “Connectors Inspire.” I loved reading the book called Nuts, which was the story of the late Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwestern Airlines. He was a master at making connections with his employees as well as the passengers. I loved the article which all his employees pitched in and placed on a full page of a newspaper. Below is what they wrote:

Thanks Herb,

For remembering every one of our names

For supporting the Ronald McDonald House

For helping load baggage on Thanksgiving

For giving everyone a kiss (and we mean everyone)

For listening

For running the only profitable airline

For singing at our holiday party

For singing only once a year

For letting us wear shorts and sneakers to work

For golfing at the LUV Classic with only one Club

For outtalking Sam Donaldson

For riding your Harley Davidson into Southwest Headquarters

For being a friend, not just a boss

Happy Boss’s Day from Each One of Your 16,000 Employees

A display of affection like that occurs only when a leader has worked hard to connect with his people. (I’m not saying you have to kiss your employees). Herb worked really hard at creating a culture to inspire people. What are you doing as a leader to inspire your employees and clients? As an employee, what are you doing to inspire your co-workers and the people you serve? The magic of connecting is about inspiring the people you work with. Now go out and get connected!


Your Stress Less Coach

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