How Did That Guest Complaint Happen?
The Power of Forming Expectations to Focus on the Guest
By Marcus Nicolls Senior Vice President and Business Unit President, Partners in Leadership (PIL) | January 24, 2016
Co-authored by Mattson Newell, Area VP & Leadership Consultant, Partners In Leadership
Everyone faces an array of forces-from social media, traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Booking.com, Orbitz,
Expedia, and a host of others-waiting to pounce with bad-good-better-best experiences to be told, starred, retold, or forgotten. Now, more than ever, our industry and our performance are under a microscope. In this environment, how do we avoid the, "How did that happen?" moments? Further, what measures can we take to ensure that the guest has a consistently great experience every time?
You Get What You Create - Accountability
When organizational leaders fail to clearly identify what they want to have happen in terms of specific, crucial outcomes, they make it much more difficult for the people in their organizations to hold each other accountable ; to see opportunities, own problems, find solutions, and achieve the outcomes that matter most. Here's how leaders in one highly respected company stay focused on what they want to have happen.
Berkshire Hathaway, who has some large investments in the hospitality space, places a premium on performance-and in doing so, consistently perform at a high level. The company is #3 (up from #4) on [Fortune's 2015 list of the World's Most Admired Companies]. What's the company's secret? There is no doubt whatsoever about what matters most to the company: beating the S&P index by investing in the right businesses and trusting talented management with operating decisions. Berkshire Hathaway owns a diverse range of businesses, including hospitality, foodservice, manufacturing, retailing, distribution, insurance, media, finance, engineering-the list goes on. So what allows the company to enjoy successes across so many industries and business sectors? The answer lies in knowing exactly what they want and making sure that is communicated throughout the organization in a way that their culture will support. The company's operating culture is simple: operating decisions are made by managers of the business units, who have comprehensive understanding of these industries and of the expectations and criteria that Berkshire Hathaway has in place. Berkshire Hathaway claims to have superior CEOs running its businesses and running them right-while investment decisions and all other capital allocation decisions are made by Chairman Warren Buffet in consultation with vice chairman, Charles Munger.
Berkshire Hathaway's [investment/acquisition criteria]further reinforce their expectations, clarifying what matters most and what they want to have happen (and do so in great detail): 1) large purchases-at least $50 million of before tax earnings (the larger the company, the greater our interest); 2) demonstrated consistent earning power-future projections are of no interest to us, neither are turnaround situations; 3) businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt; 4) management in place-we can't supply it; 5) simple businesses-if there's lots of technology, we won't understand it; 6) an offering price-we don't want to waste our time or that of the seller by talking, even preliminarily, about a transaction when price is unknown."
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