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Herb Kelleher on teaching humility

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Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher tells the following story about acquiring tiny carrier Morris Air:

“When we paid a visit to their headquarters, I told our people, ‘When you get there, shut up. You can ask questions. But you cannot lecture. You cannot tell people the way they ought to do things ... because we’re on a learning expedition.

“‘Let the Morris Air people tell us. They’re new, they’re young, they’re fresh, they’re untrammeled. Let them tell us the ideas that they have.’

“And we got some fabulous ideas as a consequence of it, and basically that’s the value of humility.”

— Adapted from “Herb Kelleher: The Thought Leader Interview,” Chuck Lucier, strategy+business, www.strategy-business.com.

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