Three Leaders – Kelleher Ash and Burke

By | January 19, 2014

Today I read about three leaders – Kelleher Ash and Burke. Each of these three leaders had some amazing qualities that I thought was worth discussing.

Herb Kelleher
Herb kelleher had one main focus at Southwest; the culture of the company which was highlighted by employees and their happiness and satisfaction was number one. With employees that were happy with their jobs, they would make their customers happy as well.

One of the core values Kelleher focused on was his overall strategy which was to focus on travelers that air travel was financially just out of reach with an alternative no frills option.

Kelleher also focused on strategic initiatives; stay lean and keep airfare costs low. He didn’t raise prices when Southwest was much lower than other airlines to continue to stay in competition with automobile travelers.

Mary Kay Ash
Mary Kay Ash was in the relationship business, not as much in the cosmetic business. She cared more about the people working for her than her company. Her sole purpose was to help people succeed in their own goals. She helped a group of women get what they couldn’t have – a business, an income while still at home doing family tasks, and a way to get out of the house and socialize.

James Burke
James Burke took Johnson & Johnson’s credo and led by it, which paid off tremendously when he was faced with the Tylenol incident where nine people died taking poisoned Tylenol. Customers first, employees second, community third, and stakeholders fourth. Right after the first person died, he pointed to the credo and knew what to do. Recall all Tylenol even though the FBI and FDA did not support his decision. He put the consumer first, and ultimately saved the Tylenol brand because of it.

Burke also has core values of truth and trust, which he continues to share with others.

Comparison of Kelleher, Ash and Burke:
After reviewing all three leaders, it was very clear to me that Kelleher and Ash were hyper focused on their employees by adding humor, trust, accountability, opportunity for them. Employees were number one, and helping them succeed was also number one. Burke was more focused on trust and doing the right thing for the consumer first, then employees second. All three were phenomenal leaders!

Employee Happiness

What is my action item from these leaders? Build relationships, have the employee come first, and have the utmost trust and truthfulness. If all three of these qualities are upheld, we are on our way to becoming a great leader!

Please let me know what you think by commenting below, I appreciate it!

Rob Reed Jr

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