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Hyper-efficiency is bad business | Breaking Now 247

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Did you have a happy holiday season? Probably not if you travelled on Southwest Airlines. The budget carrier stranded thousands of passengers for the 10 days between December 21 to 31, chalking up the vast majority of flight cancellations during the busiest travel period of the year.

While severe weather and out-of-date crew scheduling software were cited as reasons for the meltdown, the problem is reflective of a much larger issue for Southwest in particular, the airline industry in general, and even the American business landscape as a whole. The “efficiency” model corporate management of the past 40 years is tapped out.

Southwest is at the sharp end of this spear. The company came to fame as one of the first airline industry disrupters in the US, offering cheap, no frills flights, and circumventing the usual hub and spoke model. Instead of flying through major airports to get to smaller cities, travellers could go directly from place to place. For years, under chief executive and co-founder Herb Kelleher, the airline was a poster child for innovation, delighting customers and workers alike.

But in 2004, when Gary Kelly took the helm, employees (who were subsequently…

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