Culture Never Takes a Holiday

By Marcus Nicolls Senior Vice President and Business Unit President, Partners in Leadership (PIL) | January 25, 2015

Co-authored by Mattson Newell, Area VP & Leadership Consultant, Partners In Leadership

Any discussion of culture and strategy begins with a healthy understanding of what they are. Metaphorically, strategy is the orchestra—a collection of instruments and the music that will be played. It follows that culture then, is how that music is performed—from the way the maestro brandishes the baton and how the violins harmonize, to when and how the music ebbs and flows—louder-softer, faster or slower. Alone, each might be just noise or even silence. Together, they create beautiful music. More specifically,

  • Strategy involves assembling the right instruments and the best musicians, and focusing them on playing a single, perfectly composed piece of music.
  • Culture is the way the musicians think and act as they perform the music. That thinking and acting obviously affects the overall performance. And more than just a collection of “skills,” the right culture provides an environment that encourages inspired performance. With good strategic alignment and great culture leadership, musicians begin to play as one to produce music that connects with the audience and conveys the intended message—the desired result.

Roger Connors and Tom Smith, experts on organizational culture and co-authors of Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accountability for Results, have said, “The results you currently get as an organization are produced by your current culture.”

Culture Produces Results

What results is your culture producing? Is your workplace a group of expert musicians with quality instruments playing a symphony, or some syncopated cacophony? Is yours a results machine or a mess like the following example?

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The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.