Gary Kelly Chairman, President, & CEO at Southwest Airlines via linkin
I have a confession to make: I don’t know how to fly an airplane. Actually, that’s more of an admission than a confession, since I’ve never claimed to be able to pilot an aircraft. And, I suppose for most people who know me well, this news comes as a relief!
Along the same lines, I don’t know how to fix an airplane, I’m not a Flight Attendant, and I’ve never worked on the Ramp loading and unloading bags. You can add these tasks to the long list of specific job functions that are not my specialty, and I’m more than okay with that. You see, while I don’t possess any of those skills, I’m blessed to be part of a Team comprised of the very best People in the world at running an airline.
It didn’t take me long after assuming the role of CEO of a major airline to fully appreciate how much I would depend on those around me in order for our Company to be successful. I always say that the airline industry is the ultimate team sport. Next time you are on a flight, take a look at all of the activity around you that goes into operating just one flight. Our 47,000 folks do that 3,600 times a day across 95 destinations in the United States and six additional countries. The only way we can operate a Safe, reliable, airline that gets our Customers to their destination on time, with their bag, and with a smile is to work together as a Team devoted to a common goal.
I know my role on our Team. There’s no “I” in Team, just as there’s no “I” in CEO. My top priority is to take care of our People, and in turn, their job is to take care of our Customers. When we do our jobs well, our Customers have a great experience and come back for their next trip—thereby rewarding our shareholders. We’ve operated from that simple formula from day one, and the only way it works is if we are working together as one Team, with one Purpose, and one Heart.
So take comfort in knowing that you won’t find me in the cockpit on your next flight, and instead, you’ll find one of the very best Pilots in the business, doing his/her job, as part of a larger Team to make it all happen.