by Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology
Herb Kelleher was on my Southwest flight the other
day from San Antonio to Dallas. Formerly the CEO
of Southwest Airlines, he is now retired and
Chairman of the Board. However, he doesn't know
We associate Southwest with “good feelings,” and
its success has everything to do with Herb and with
Herb is known for his down-to-earth “everyman”
demeanor and what the press calls his “zany
antics”. This has to do with him agreeing to be
emotionally present. Is he really? Since I met
him, I simply cannot refer to him as “Kelleher.”
Emotions are contagious.
Southwest is known for its friendly
management/labor relationships in a rough
industry. You feel, on one of their flights, that
their attendants are not afraid. They’re
“allowed” to kid around.
In the beginning, Southwest was losing money and
had to either sell a plane or layoff employees.
They sold a plane, the emotionally intelligent
thing to do. In return, employees cut gate
turn-arounds to 15 minutes. Using your heart as
well as your brain is what EQ is all about.
Motivation, as we say, is not a thinking word.
Herb also used the EQ competencies of creativity
and flexibility. Meals had always been served on
airlines. They were horrible, yet no one ever
thought of not serving them. They were a ‘sacred
If you’re under 40, let me give you a modern-day
analogy. The reason the turn-around is 15 minutes
is the way people board the plane. If we hustled,
or didn’t queu-up, or an attendant handled the
carryons, we’d board faster. There’s no reason
why we board the way we do except that we do.
HERB IN ACTION
He got on the plane with a big grin and walked
down the aisle greeting everyone and shaking
hands, as if 'this is my party and you are my
guests.' He was obviously having the time of
I was in a window seat and didn’t get to interact
with him. I felt left out, which is odd for me;
I'm not that gregarious. But Herb is contagious.
Anyone who’s having fun like that, I want to be
He’s so approachable, when we got off in Dallas he
was walking behind me, and I turned, held out my
hand, laughed and said, “Herb, it’s you! Great
flight, how do you do it?”
I wanted to see if he would still be friendly when
“off duty,” i.e., was he Authentic? Yes, he’s
Authentic! We had a nice chat. I asked him the
obvious question and he returned the obvious
answer – do what you love to do and love what you
If you haven’t "found your passion" yet, I
recommend coaching. You’ll never be successful or
happy doing something you don’t love to do, and
the more you think that’s an oxymoron, the more
you need coaching.
Perseverance Lead To Walt Disney's Greatest Success!
Disney spent his whole working career dealing with
tough-minded bankers, demanding stockholders and difficult employees. But through his travails when Disney had a dream
he understood the perseverance needed to carry it through.
The Amazing Formula That Can Make You A Success!
There is a special formula that makes people successful.
Unfortunately, you can't buy the formula. But if you could, it would be hotter than
Yes You Can
Your success in any venture starts with your thoughts about it. If you think you can succeed (in losing weight, stopping smoking, securing a high-income- paying job, finding your ideal partner, etc, etc), you're already on your way to getting what you want.