Values Beat LUV’s Bottom Line


For the past three years, I have been a proud stock-holder of Southwest Airlines’ stock, better known as LUV. I don’t know of any other company that doesn’t use a part of their name as a part of their stock ticker symbol. But more importantly, uses an acronym that represents their company culture and values.

Southwest AirlinesObviously, it has been a tough decade for all the U.S. carriers, and Southwest has not been immune. When I lived in Kansas City, I flew with them quite a bit. In the past year, I have only been able to fly them once, but it was the best experience. They always are.

In Gary C. Kelly’s letter, the CEO of Southwest Airlines he ends with a clear statement on where the company is going.

As we prepare for our next 40 years, our financial goals remain unchanged:

  • Take good care of our People
  • Win more Customers
  • Boost operating revenues
  • Preserve our low cost position
  • Maintain a strong balance sheet
  • Achieve and sustain a 15 percent pre-tax return on invested capital

With this simple six-bullet list, Kelly brings everything together and a two things stand out.

The word “People” is capitalized. He means the team behind the LUV mission. That’s a great key to have in the list. You can’t succeed if you don’t care about the people behind the mission.

Likewise, the word “Customer” is capitalized too. Much like the staff, if you don’t LUV the customer (see “bags fly free”), then it doesn’t matter how much you LUV your staff.

This is why I love being a member of this team, and will continue to hold my few shares. It’s the power of LUV.

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