EppsNet Archive: Commander’s Intent

Finding the Core


Shared vision as the DNA of an organization . . . It’s common knowledge that Southwest is a successful company, but there is a shocking performance gap between Southwest and its competitors. Although the airlines industry as a whole has only a passing acquaintance with profitability, Southwest has been consistently profitable for more than thirty years. The reasons for Southwest’s success could (and do) fill up books, but perhaps the single greatest factor in the company’s success is its dogged focus on reducing costs. Every airline would love to reduce costs, but Southwest has been doing it for decades. For this effort to succeed, the company must coordinate thousands of employees ranging from marketers to baggage handlers. Southwest has a Commander’s Intent, a core, that helps to guide this coordination. As related by James Carville and Paul Begala: Herb Kelleher [the longest-serving CEO of Southwest] once told someone, “I can… Read more →