Two ladies dressed in golf attire approach the clubhouse near the edge of the course. Although they are dressed for the part, they are guests at the club and do not know their way around. They ask a young employee for directions to the driving range. Despite the newcomer-type question, the employee references other locations in the club’s property to get to the range, which is somewhat far away from the clubhouse. The ladies drive off in a cart only to return to the same area by the clubhouse seeking directions again. A manager approaches them and then provides a map and much more digestible directions. She apologizes to the ladies, “I don’t know what’s going on with him– his head is in the clouds today!” in reference to her junior colleague.
- Never make assumptions about your customers. Regardless of how someone looks or acts, s/he may not be familiar at all with your business or how it works. If the customer is repeat, of course one should acknowledge that; however, it is particularly important to be thorough with new customers to form a positive first impression. If you’re not sure, spend time with the customer(s) and determine their level of familiarity.
- No one likes to feel lost. When answering a question about directions, it’s always best to take the customer to his/her destination yourself. If this is not possible for whatever reason, ensure that the directions are very clear and appropriate for someone who does not know the lay of the land at all. Your customers are smart people, but clarity is of paramount importance.
- Always show solidarity with your colleagues. Never, ever throw anyone “under the bus.” Not even in the context of a joke. Customers are impressed when employees work together in sync– something that the Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton do everyday. You’re all on the same team– apologize to the customer, yes, but coach your colleague in private. ∞
Measuring activity prompts us to do more be more productive, but it can make us enjoy activities less. (source)
The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center Perspective
Many high-performing organizations pride themselves on being data-driven. While data is extremely valuable in determining metrics like customer and employee engagement, regularly tracking individual activities can negatively affect an otherwise enjoyable employee experience. Professor Jordan Etkin of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business understands the draw to measuring activities; however, she also concluded that “rather than merely drawing attention away from an enjoyable activity, measurement also draws attention towards output, which undermines motivation and overall happiness” (Fuqua School of Business). At The Ritz-Carlton, we are committed to continuously learning and innovating, which is often informed by data we collect. At the same time, as leaders we are cognizant of ensuring that we do not make our Ladies and Gentlemen feel like they are under a microscope. Our Gold Standards have clear statements regarding our employees’ empowerment as well as our value of trust in the workplace. It is everyone’s responsibility to support each other in being as efficient as possible while also supporting each other’s happiness. ∞
A bright, young, talented job candidate comes to an office for a job interview. She meets with the employees who would be her immediate team members and supervisors, and she makes genuine connections. Everyone seems to feel positively about the interview process. Finally, it is time to meet with the CEO. She is unapologetically late, self-centered and keeps responding to messages on her phone during the interaction. In other words, the CEO fails to engage the candidate at all or answer her questions.
• Teamwork is always important, and particularly so in the context of recruiting and hiring great talent. The CEO failed to contribute positively to her employees’ hiring process and in fact left a negative last impression on the candidate.
• Technology is a wonderful thing; however, it can be distracting. Do not make the people in front of you feel like they are not a priority by constantly texting or emailing someone elsewhere.
• The Employee Promise of The Ritz-Carlton states, “we nurture and maximize talent to the benefit of each individual and the company.” As the senior leader, the CEO missed a huge opportunity to show interest in the young employee and show her how she could grow with her company.
If you were this employee, would you take the job even if the offer was good? ∞
“Managers naturally tend to emphasize their competence while downplaying benevolence.” (source)
From The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:
Benevolence is one of the key components of trust. Kent Grayson, an associate professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management and faculty coordinator of The Trust Project at Northwestern University, defines benevolence as the belief that a person or entity “has your best interests at heart and cares about you.” Employees will not trust managers who are clearly out for themselves. In order to engage employees and earn their trust, leaders must genuinely care about their staff. The Credo of The Ritz-Carlton includes the words “genuine care.” If employees do not feel truly cared for, it is unlikely that they will genuinely care about your customers or your organization. When managers act benevolently, they build trust with employees. Grayson notes, “Trust, after all, is a powerful force: it can win customers and deepen important relationships.” ∞