Rules for Success

July 18, 2016

HUB JWM Rules for SuccessI like lists. They keep me organized; they keep me focused. I operate best with lists. From my years writing on this blog, I know my readers like lists, too. Two of the most viewed topics on my blog have been my 12 Rules for Success and my father’s Guideposts to Management.

My father gave me a list of guideposts to management when I became Vice President in 1964. I later adapted that list into my own rules for success.

No one accidentally becomes a good leader. It takes dedication and discipline. My father knew—and I knew—that a brief list would help bring priorities into focus… keeping me grounded on the most important elements of being a good leader.

This list has served me well and I hope you’ll find them useful in your career.

  1. Challenge your team to do better and do it often.

  2. Take good care of your associates, and they'll take good care of your customers, and they'll come back.

  3. Celebrate your peoples' success, not your own.

  4. Know what you're good at and keep improving.

  5. Do it and do it now. Err on the side of taking action. This is one of my favorite rules for success. There is such a thing as “analysis by paralysis” … don’t get weighed down by indecision. Go with your gut.

  6. Communicate by listening to your customers, associates and competitors.

  7. See and be seen. Get out of your office, walk the talk, make yourself visible and accessible.

  8. Success is always in the details.

  9. It's more important to hire people with the right qualities than with specific experience.

  10. Customer needs may vary, but their bias for quality never does.

  11. Always hire people who are smarter than you are.

  12. View every problem as an opportunity to grow.


With so many distractions and demands in our world today, I think we all can appreciate a good list… brief points we can tuck away to use when the time is right. I’d love to know what your favorite rule is in the list above? What are the rules you abide by to be a good leader?

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Listen to audio

A Safe Haven

June 14, 2016
It’s not uncommon for me to hear about how the teams at any one of our 4,400 hotels are going above and beyond to help a guest. It’s one of our core values… putting people first. I recently came across a newspaper article about the Courtyard Newark – University of...

Learn to Love the Pickiest Customer

May 31, 2016
We’ve all seen picky customers. They seem impossible to please… they’ll nitpick every little detail. It’s too hot, it’s too cold; the beds are too hard, the pillow are too soft. Most people throw their hands up and say “they’ll never be satisfied, I give up!” But, I challenge you...

Spirit to Serve

May 18, 2016
Some of our Marriott International Headquarters associates helping construct a playground. I mentioned last week that May is a big month for our company. We’ve got lots to celebrate during the anniversary month of our company’s founding. We spend a lot of time focusing on our terrific associates, applauding them...

A Time to Celebrate

May 12, 2016
Celebrating at the gala with the 2016 Awards of Excellence Honorees. The month of May is always a time of celebration for our company. We plan a number of exciting events around the company anniversary, May 20. Each year I look forward to one of my favorite events… the Awards...

Our Competitive Advantage

April 25, 2016
My parents' root beer stand in 1927 and the SpringHill Suites & Residence Inn San Diego Downtown Bayfront, opened earlier this month. Looking back at where we’ve come from – a small root beer stand started in 1927 – has always been an important part of our company’s culture. You...

Give Me a Break

April 11, 2016
Celebrating my recent birthday with my family at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort. According to a recent study done by the U.S. Travel Association’s “Project: Time Off” campaign, American workers report using almost a full week less of vacation leave than they did 20 years ago. And, only...

My First Twitter Chat

March 29, 2016
Well I guess I’ve officially arrived in the 21st century. In February I participated in my first ever Twitter chat, along with my daughter, Debbie Marriott Harrison. And let me tell you, it was great fun! When our communications department approached Debbie and me to try a Twitter chat with...

Made in the USA

March 14, 2016
I’m proud to say we’re making history with the simple, cotton hotel towel. Marriott International has found a way to have the towels and bath mats for our U.S. hotels produced in the USA - with cotton grown in the USA. We signed a long-term agreement with Standard Textile to...

Real Passion, Real Food

March 2, 2016
One of my favorite things to do when I visit hotels is sample their menu. I love that each hotel has a unique perspective on food & beverage. I love that our restaurants take a cue from their communities and offer options that represent the culture and vibrancy of the...

Go. Be. Happy.

February 18, 2016
My wife Donna and me with our grandchildren and great grandchildren. ©Gale Frank-Adise, All rights reserved At the start of any new year, there always seems to be a lot of talk about living a better life. People are in pursuit of overall happiness. Lately a lot has been written...