INSTANT MBA: Don't Be Afraid To Make Contrarian Decisions

Herb Kelleher

Photo: Southwest

Today’s advice comes from Southwest Airlines Co-Founder Herb Kelleher’s interview with the AP:”It was a contrarian decision,” Keller says about Southwest not imposing bag fees to passengers. “It followed my old adage that if it’s common it’s not wisdom, and if it’s wisdom it’s not common.’

“When everybody started saying in the analyst community, ‘Well gee, you know Southwest carries — I’m making up a figure — 30 million bags a year, and if they charge $20 a bag they could bring in $600 million.’ I said, ‘You know, we can multiply.’ The decision took foresight and understanding, not of where things were today but where they could go. I think that’s one of the best decisions that’s ever been made at Southwest Airlines.”

Kelleher says Southwest was the progenitor of low fares in America, and helped change the idea that only wealthy people can afford to fly. His proudest accomplishment so far? Job security for his employees, he says.

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