“We told people that it’s got to come from your heart, not your head, to be effective,” Kelleher says, “that it’s a feeling of empathy towards your people and of acting out of their best interests. If your people feel that you truly have their best interests in mind, they’ll give you their best. And you do that by creating a system that gives them the freedom to grow, to play an important role, and to be part of something great.” The reason Southwest Airlines’ visitors had such a hard time replicating this model was because they were looking for a list of practices. They wanted to analyze the system, break down its component parts, isolate what made Southwest Airlines unique from other airlines, and then replicate those practices in their own system. In trying to use reductionist thinking on a complex system, they were destroying the core principles that made the Southwest Airlines model so potent in the first place.
– From ‘Better Under Pressure’ by Justin Menkes