I remember the first time, I worked for one of the major brands in the hotel business. It’s was a full service Hilton Hotel right in the heart Dallas Fort Worth. I began to learn first-hand about what it takes to create a culture of excellence for one of the major hotel chains in the world. This was a big leap as my previous hotel experience was mostly limited hotel service.
As I began working there, I noticed something unique that spoke directly to my heart. It was something that gave me a purpose and drive to build a career in the hotel business. It was our culture! It was camaraderie, respect, caring and a tight family atmosphere that left quite an impression on me from many years.
That hotel taught me probably the most important lessons about leadership. Our culture was the engine and the hotel performance was the car. We knew that in every area; the culture will define our successes or failures. We knew that if we take care of our culture, we will take care of the customer. I am not using the word culture very loosely here. It’s a lot of hard work and commitment to excellence. It was about putting our hearts and service above personal success.
Since then I have worked and developed my career in the hotel business for many years. My passion has always been to help organizations uplift the culture and brand training. I love seeing people grow. I feel that my purpose is to be the gardener who plants the seeds for people’s potential. People ask me, Tal what does it take to create a culture of excellence? What are some of the essentials that every organization must have in order to create excellence? I have been thinking about some of the experiences and lesson of my 20 plus years working for brands of excellence in the hotel industry.
Here are five essentials that I feel passionately about if you really want to drive your company to a culture of excellence. Culture is the outcome of several factors that come together in a company. It’s not just one element, but several non-negotiables that will drive performance to higher success.
Lead a Noble Purpose
If I asked your team, what’s the purpose of your business? How would they answer? If the majority of your people believe the main purpose of your business is to make profits, you’re destined for mediocrity. Your company purpose must be bigger than your profit. Apple for example, had a noble purpose. They wanted to enrich people’s lives. Their products have been a game-changer in our lives, but let’s think about why Apple made a dent in the universe? They went beyond their products and services, they wanted to enrich people’s lives.
When you have a noble purpose, your employees and customers can feel the impact. They want to know that they matter. Most companies are focused on urgent matters but not on what matters most. As a leader you must ask, “What’s our purpose, how does it impact our employees and customers, and are we seeing the impact?” At the end of the day if you have an inspiring culture, focused on employees and customers’ needs, the financials will show a positive result.
Live the Core Values
Noticed I said “Live”. If you are living and walking the company’s core values, your culture is moving from a “nice to have” to “a must have.” A key step to sustaining a culture of excellence is to articulate core beliefs. Those values should speak to the hearts and minds of your employees and customers.
Jim Collins in his classic book, “Built to Last-successful habits of visionary companies”, defines what core values are, “Core values are the organization’s essential and enduring tenets, not to be compromised for financial gain or short term expediency”. Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh believes core values matter- “If you want to know the Zappos Experience, look to our 10 core values.”
Commit to customer excellence
In his book The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker declares there is only one purpose of a business: to create a customer. Recent research shows that Businesses are losing $62 billion per year through poor customer service. That’s up $20 billion since 2013, just three years ago! WOW! Can you imagine what would happen if we invest in better customer experience? Wouldn’t that create more relationships and as a result bring more prosperity to your business?
Develop and grow your team
One of my biggest take aways from the brands of excellence and their culture, was the on-going development of their people. Excellence is never maintaining the status que. It’s about upgrading your business. It’s about growing the talent in your organization. Most people leave this to their Human Resources department, but times have changed and development should never be delegated. Ask yourself, “How am I growing my team? How can upgrade their skills?” What are their goals and aspirations to grow with the company?” Matthew Kelly’s “The Dream Manager” is a wonderful business parable about how companies can achieve remarkable results by helping their employees fulfill their dreams.
Focus on the process, instead of the outcome.
Many companies are focused on the results, the outcomes or the end game. Culture of excellence is a journey. It’s the day to day process of achieving the results. I like to use sports as an analogy in this case. The best teams in any sports, are not outcome focused. Their goal might be to win a championship, but it’s the long hours of practicing and working through each and every day to get better in their sport. The score is important but not as important as the process, strategy and people that can energize people toward better outcome.
I would love to have a conversation with you about how to create a culture of excellence in your organization? Simply email me and I would love to add value to you today.