Developing Legendary Leaders, Southwest Style


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Southwest Airlines has a highly engaged workforce known for its sense of humor and teamwork. Its culture is fueled by significant investments in leadership development. This session explores how Southwests Developing Legendary Leaders program, an intensive boot camp for managers and directors, builds leadership, strategic thinking and business acumen skills. The session takes a close look at a competitive team-based simulation that allows Southwests rising leaders to hone their business acumen skills. Get an inside view into Southwests successful leadership development program, and see the results of Southwests focus on developing leaders from within the organization.


  • 1. Southwest Airlines: Developing LegendaryLeaders, Southwest StyleBonnie Endicott, Southwest Airlines Bjorn Billhardt, Enspire Learning

2. Southwest Airlines University for People Serve all 40,000 Southwest andAirTran employees with professionaland leadership development Facilitated over 124,000 learning hoursin 2011 Staff of 17 facilitators, instructionaldesigners, program specialists, andcoordinators 3. Enspire Learning Leadership development experiencesand simulations since 2001 50 learning and leadershipdevelopment professionals Offices in Austin, TX andBerlin, Germany 4. Enspire Simulation ProgramsFocus: Leadership, strategic Focus: Business Focus: Managingthinking, cross-departmental acumen, understanding drivers people, handling difficultcollaborationof financial successconversationsDelivery: Blended, team- Delivery: Blended, classroomDelivery: Blended, classroombased, multiplayer or virtualor virtual delivery, multiplayer, team-delivery, multiplayer, team- based basedOutcomes: Personal Outcomes: Better managerial Outcomes: Confidence ininsight, big picture decision-making, better handling difficult managerialmindset, effective cross-communication using financial situations, improved ability tofunctional data and metricsmanage employee productivitycollaboration, behavior change and engagement 5. Leadership Development at SouthwestHigh Promotion toPotential SupervisorSupervisors Leadership Yes! I want Managers-IsPromotion to Southwest to be ain-Training Director+LeadershipLeadership Style Leader!(MIT) Level Ifor me? (3 weeks) (3 weeks) Leadership FUNdamen- Leadership Summit Leadershiptals of (1 day101201Southwest High annually) (2 days) (2 days)Leadership Promotion to Potential (2 days)ManagerManagers Next Level Managers- Emerging LeadersLeadership in-Training(2.5 days)(MIT) LevelII (6 weeks) 6. Managers-in-Training II Program Objectives Develop a personal leadership style that impacts the heartsand minds of your People Be a change Leader, building strong Teams andcommunicating at all levels Think strategically, seeing beyond today to plan for tomorrow Serve othersbe a model of a Servants Heart Model Living the Southwest Way daily6 7. Managers-in-Training II Program Objectives Navigate the Southwest organization with influence Research, assess, and present a recommendation to SeniorManagement Committee that supports Southwests strategicdirection Be purposeful and planful in your growth as a SouthwestLeader 8. Blend of development techniques Executive sponsorship 360 feedback Guest Professors Camping & challenge Strategic project courses Shadowing a Senior Development opportunitiesExecutive for Alumni Business simulation Online modules Book debriefs 9. A Typical AgendaMondayTuesday Wednesday Thursday FridayFreedom Hall / Training Room E /U4P 106U4P 106 U4P 106U4P 106U4P 106 *Wear your MIT shirt7:30am Shuttle8:00am Shuttle 7:30am Shuttle7:30am Shuttle8:00am Shuttle8:00 8:30am8:30 9:00am 8:00 8:15am8:00 8:15am8:30 11:30amPresentation Set-upDebrief & Daily AgendaDebrief & Daily Agenda Debrief & Daily Agenda Individual Development Planning8:30am 1:00pm9:00am 11:30noon8:15am 12:00pm 8:15am 12:00pmSMC Presentations &InfluencerInfluencer Business SimulationTake-aways &Feedback Next Steps 11:30 1:00pm12:00 1:30pm 12:00 1:00pmFreedom Hall / TrainingLunch w/ Herb and Colleen Lunch with Sponsor LunchRoom F for Lunch 1:00 5:30pm 1:30 5:30pm1:00 5:30pm1:30 2:30pmInfluencer, continued Influencer, continuedBusiness Simulation,Debrief Presentations continuedU4P 106 5:30 pm Shuttle 5:00pm Shuttle 5:00pm Shuttle 12:00pm Depart to Airport 5:30 - 7:30pm5:30 - 7:30pm Flt Ops SIMS& Dinner Dinner (?)CELEBRATE!! 4:30 pm Shuttle 8:00 pm Shuttle 8:00 pm Shuttle 10. Simulation Capstone ExperienceOnline Pre-work Team-Based Simulation Rich, video-based media Teams formulate strategies Tools and exercises and execute multiple rounds Self-paced instruction Structured, customized Duration: 4-8 hours debriefs drive learning Duration: 6-12 hours 11. The Experience 12. The Experience 13. Debriefing Topics Strategy and finance Shareholder value Unit economics Breakeven analysis Payback period NPV and IRR Financial metrics and statements Investment analysis and ROI Profitability and cash flow Systems thinking 14. Questions?Bonnie EndicottBjorn BillhardtSouthwest Airlines Enspire