Southwest Airlines is the largest airline in the US, based on domestic passengers carried and one of the most profitable airline companies (at least in the US). On 18th June 2011 Southwest celebrated their 40th anniversary of being in business. To highlight its success Southwest Airlines published 40 lessons to learn in their in-flight magazine “Spirit”.

The 40 lessons details many of the best practices that are often highlighted by business authors and consultants. In my opinion, the one thing that is clearly different is that Southwest Airlines does not just talk about these concepts, they apply them every day and every time.

These lessons are universal and if you learn and apply them then you can be successful as well. So read the article and use it as checklist for  "how are we are doing".

The 40 lessons are below and you can download the full article from here.

Ahmed Abbas

40 Lessons to Learn from Southwest Airlines 

1. Keep the idea simple enough to draw on a napkin.

2. A legend is an asset.

3. Hire a good lawyer.

4. Raise more money than you think you need. Now double it.

5. Crazy is no liability.

6. Find Executives who look like they walked off the set of "The Expendables".

7. Target the overcharged and underserved.

8. Be the good guy.

9. Two strikes is one hit away from a home run.

10. Recognize your luck.

11. Lack of money makes you frugal.

12. Gain talk equity.

13. Promote from within.

14. If the zeitgeist works for you, use it.

15. Invent your own Culture and put a top person in charge of it.

16. A Culture has its own language.

17. The legal part is never over.

18. Have a recognizable home.

19. A crisis can contain the germ of a big idea.

20. Simplicity has value.

21. It doesn’t hurt to look like a toy.

22. Remember your chief mission.

23. Instead of whining, give a lollipop.

24. It helps to have an extroverted Leader.

25. Get into fun advertising wars.

26. Take your business, not yourself, seriously.

27. See your business as a cause.

28. Put the worker first.

29. Sweat the small stuff, but try not to lawyer it.

30. Beware of imitators, but take them as a compliment.

31. The Web ain’t cool, it’s a tool.

32. Set and renew noble expectations.

33. Increasing size should make you a force for good.

34. Get green.

35. It’s about Customer Service, not "scalability."

36. Listen to advice, then celebrate it.

37. Pick your peaks and stick to them.

38. Manage permanence.

39. Never rest on your laurels or you will get a thorn in your, um, butt.

40. It’s OK to be unprofitable for a year.

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