Developing Legendary Leaders, Southwest Style
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Developing Legendary Leaders, Southwest Style



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 ...

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 Southwest’s 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 Southwest’s rising leaders to hone their business acumen skills.

Get an inside view into Southwest’s successful leadership development program, and see the results of Southwest’s focus on developing leaders from within the organization.



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  • MIT II Program objectives are geared towards getting Leaders ready to lead at the Director and above levels, as you can see here we highlight competencies such as leading inspirationally, leading change, thinking strategically, using influence to acquire buy-in and get things done, present with impact and focus on your personal growth.Segue: All curricula is driven from our Leadership Expectations.
  • MIT II is an immersive experience. Participants, even those located in Dallas where our HDQ building is located, stay at the same hotel. We host evening events to build relationships and of course, have FUN. This is a cohort Team that we expect to continue networking and partnering together on Company initiatives after the experience. We are aware that much of what a person learns is from colleagues and through experiences. So our program is built accordingly. We focus on Team building, so that they are having those hard conversations about mutual business issues or are asking advice of each other on how to handle a situation. We host one MIT II session per year with between 15 – 20 Participants. Participants are sponsored by the VP level Executives in their Departments.Class experiences are a mix of facilitated classes and participant-driven learning experiences. The MIT Program Team works to create a safe, effective environment for learning, then allows the learning to happen in a push (from us) and pull (from them) manner.

Developing Legendary Leaders, Southwest Style Developing Legendary Leaders, Southwest Style Presentation Transcript

  • Southwest Airlines: Developing LegendaryLeaders, Southwest Style Bonnie Endicott, Southwest Airlines Bjorn Billhardt, Enspire Learning
  • Southwest Airlines University for People• Serve all 40,000 Southwest and AirTran employees with professional and leadership development• Facilitated over 124,000 learning hours in 2011• Staff of 17 facilitators, instructional designers, program specialists, and coordinators
  • Enspire Learning• Leadership development experiences and simulations since 2001• 50 learning and leadership development professionals• Offices in Austin, TX and Berlin, Germany
  • Enspire Simulation ProgramsFocus: Leadership, strategic Focus: Business Focus: Managingthinking, cross-departmental acumen, understanding drivers people, handling difficultcollaboration of financial success conversationsDelivery: Blended, team- Delivery: Blended, classroom Delivery: Blended, classroombased, multiplayer or virtual or 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 metrics manage employee productivitycollaboration, behavior change and engagement
  • Leadership Development at Southwest High Promotion to Potential Supervisor Supervisors • Leadership Yes! I want • Managers-Is Promotion to Southwest to be a in-Training Director+Leadership Leadership Style Leader! (MIT) Level Ifor me? (3 weeks) (3 weeks) • Leadership • FUNdamen- • Leadership Summit• Leadership tals of (1 day 101 201 Southwest High annually) (2 days) (2 days) Leadership Promotion to Potential (2 days) Manager Managers • Next Level • Managers- Emerging Leaders Leadership in-Training (2.5 days) (MIT) Level II (6 weeks)
  • Managers-in-Training II Program Objectives• Develop a personal leadership style that impacts the hearts and minds of your People• Be a change Leader, building strong Teams and communicating at all levels• Think strategically, seeing beyond today to plan for tomorrow• Serve others—be a model of a Servant’s Heart• Model Living the Southwest Way daily 6
  • Managers-in-Training II Program Objectives• Navigate the Southwest organization with influence• Research, assess, and present a recommendation to Senior Management Committee that supports Southwest’s strategic direction• Be purposeful and planful in your growth as a Southwest Leader
  • Blend of development techniques• Executive sponsorship • 360 feedback• Guest Professors • Camping & challenge• Strategic project courses• ―Shadowing‖ a Senior • Development opportunities Executive for Alumni• Business simulation• Online modules• Book debriefs
  • A Typical Agenda Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday FridayFreedom Hall / Training Room E / U4P 106 U4P 106 U4P 106 U4P 106 U4P 106 *Wear your MIT shirt7:30am Shuttle 8:00am Shuttle 7:30am Shuttle 7:30am Shuttle 8:00am Shuttle8:00 – 8:30am 8:30 – 9:00am 8:00 – 8:15am 8:00 – 8:15am 8:30 – 11:30amPresentation Set-up Debrief & Daily Agenda Debrief & Daily Agenda Debrief & Daily Agenda Individual Development Planning8:30am – 1:00pm 9:00am – 11:30noon 8:15am – 12:00pm 8:15am – 12:00pmSMC Presentations & Influencer Influencer Business Simulation Take-aways &Feedback Next Steps 11:30 – 1:00pm 12:00 – 1:30pm 12:00 – 1:00pmFreedom Hall / Training Lunch w/ Herb and Colleen Lunch with Sponsor LunchRoom F for Lunch 1:00 – 5:30pm 1:30 – 5:30pm 1:00 – 5:30pm1:30 – 2:30pm Influencer, continued Influencer, continued Business Simulation,Debrief Presentations continuedU4P 106  5:30 pm Shuttle  5:00pm Shuttle  5:00pm Shuttle  12:00pm Depart to Airport 5:30 - 7:30pm 5:30 - 7:30pm Flt Ops – SIMS& Dinner Dinner (?)CELEBRATE!! 4:30 pm Shuttle  8:00 pm Shuttle  8:00 pm Shuttle
  • 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
  • The Experience
  • The Experience
  • 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
  • Questions?Bonnie Endicott Bjorn BillhardtSouthwest Airlines Enspire