This is an original article taken from the NIST Baldrige blog, written by Harry Hertz, Director Emeritus of the Baldrige Program.
Over the past 1 1/2 years two iconic corporate leaders of the 20th and early 21st century passed away: Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines and Jack Welch of General Electric. Both built phenomenally successful companies during their tenures. Both had unique leadership styles, that differed in many ways. However, there were a number of striking similarities, that provide leadership lessons for all times and some specific pointers for surviving times of crisis. Not surprisingly, these are characteristics called out in the Baldrige Excellence Framework and displayed by leaders of Baldrige Award recipient organizations across all sectors. Let me share the characteristics I gleaned from numerous readings about these two leaders and summarized in these articles about Kelleher and Welch. I will relate them to the Baldrige framework and then to important lessons for times of challenge.