The Colleen C. Barrett Institute strives to provide resources that will aid individuals and organizations in their own efforts to produce excellent cultures and provide top-notch customer service. To that end, resources will continually be added to this virtual library which features a vast array of leadership content.


XOXO: Notes from the Heart

An email newsletter presented by The Colleen C. Barrett Institute for Cultural Excellence & Customer Service

Books on Southwest

To celebrate more than 50 years of putting People first, Southwest Airlines proudly released “Leading with Heart: Living & Working the Southwest Way.” This book represents Southwest Airlines’ guide to Leadership, business, and life, based on insights from Founder Herb Kelleher, President Emeritus Colleen Barrett, Executive Chairman and former CEO Gary Kelly, CEO Bob Jordan, President & Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven, and other impactful Southwest Leaders past and present.

The book highlights Living & Working the Southwest Way as a set of fun and engaging Leadership tenets that can be applied by readers everywhere, and features a special foreword by Gary Kelly. “Leading with Heart” gives readers a “behind-the-curtain” view into the beginnings of Southwest’s unique Culture and how it’s maintained by the Company’s greatest asset—its People.

Grab your copy of “Leading with Heart: Living & Working the Southwest Way” at

Celebrate Southwest Airlines’ incredible first five decades with 50 Years. One Heart. A History of Southwest in 50 Objects. This visually engaging coffee-table book showcases a stunning collection of 50 unique objects, outfits, and artifacts accompanied by short stories from the Company’s inspiring history and features a special foreword by 17-year Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly. Dive in to explore how Southwest:

  • Beat the overwhelming odds to get “ready for takeoff”
  • Launched and maintained a truly Legendary Culture
  • Turned the corner from surviving to thriving
  • Kept on “winning” with Customers
  • Disrupted the industry
  • And, has consistently put its Heart into action

The inspiring lessons to be learned from the Company’s past remain incredibly relevant today. Grab your copy of 50 Years. One Heart. at and enjoy a rare look at Southwest’s rich past through the lens of iconic (and sometimes, downright eccentric) objects from the Corporate Archive.

By Ken Blanchard and Colleen Barrett (2010)

Once, there was a remarkable person who led with love. Her company succeeded where its competitors struggled. Its customers were loyal, its employees loved to work there, and it was profitable year after year, for decades. This loving leader began her career as an executive secretary, yet the company’s founder chose her to succeed him as president. When asked why, he said, “Because she knows how to love people to success.” She is Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines®. Lead with LUV  is an extraordinary, wide-ranging conversation between Barrett and the legendary Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager. Drawing on personal experience, Barrett and Blanchard reveal why leading with love is the most powerful way to lead and how it can help you achieve truly amazing levels of performance. Discover:

  • What “love” really means in the organizational context. 
  • Why leading with love is not “soft” management! 
  • How to use redirection and tough love to handle inappropriate behavior or performance. 
  • Why “servant leadership” is love in action, and how to make it work. 
  • How to build the compelling vision and culture that sustains leadership with love.

By Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg (1998)

Twenty-five years ago, Herb Kelleher reinvented air travel when he founded Southwest Airlines, where the planes are painted like killer whales, a typical company maxim is “Hire people with a sense of humor,” and in-flight meals are never served–just sixty million bags of peanuts a year. By sidestepping “reengineering,” “total quality management,” and other management philosophies and employing its own brand of business success, Kelleher’s airline has turned a profit for twenty-four consecutive years and seen its stock soar 300 percent since 1990.

Today, Southwest is the safest airline in the world and ranks number one in the industry for service, on-time performance, and lowest employee turnover rate; and Fortune magazine has twice ranked Southwest one of the ten best companies to work for in America. How do they do it?

With unlimited access to the people and inside documents of Southwest Airlines, authors Kevin and Jackie Freiberg share the secrets behind the greatest success story in commercial aviation. Read it and discover how to transfer the Southwest inspiration to your own business and personal life.

Colleen's Library

Colleen is an avid reader and life-long learner. These are just a few of her favorites from her Southwest bookshelf.

Colleen Barrett at a book signing for the release of Lead With LUV.

Servant Leadership in Action

Ken Blanchard & Renee Broadwell


Ken Carnes & David Cottrell

My Best Service Ever

Mark Arnold, Rory Rowland, Quentin Templeton

Helping People Win at Work

Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge

Chosen for Greatness

Burnette Clingman

I Love you More than My Dog

Jeanne Bliss

Would You Do that To Your Mother

Jeanne Bliss

Give and Take

Adam Grant

Out of the Maze

Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Who Moved My Cheese

Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Dare to Serve

Cheryl Bachelder

A Chance in the World

Steve Pemberton

On Fire

John O'Leary

The 10 Essential Hugs of Life

Roy Spence

Take the Lead

Betsy Myers

It's Not About You

Bob Burg and John David Mann

Do Something Now

Dr. Kevin & Dr. Jackie Freiberg

Leadership Matters

Lee J. Colan Ph.D

Instant Turnaround

Harry Paul and Ross Reck PH.D

Take Their Breath Away

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson

Ten Thousand Horses

John Stahl-Wert/Ken Jennings

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