Ed Fuller, our president and managing director of international lodging, knows first hand that you can’t lead with your feet on the desk. You’ve got to get those boots on the ground, as Ed says, and I agree with him. Ed has shown that by just returning from Egypt where we have seven hotels. When the recent civil unrest unfolded, he knew there was no substitute for being there in person to help our hotel owners and associates through this very difficult, challenging time.
Ed has just written a new book called — what else? — You Can’t Lead With Your Feet on the Desk. Among the many great management tips he shares are three that I recommend to you:
One: to respect is to inspire. The hotel business is all about service, which means it’s all about motivating our frontline people. We can see to it that you get a comfortable bed, but if the person at the front desk hasn’t made you feel very, very welcome, the bed won’t feel great. A salary won’t motivate people to deliver service; they need to believe that they will rise through the organization and find new opportunities if they really take care of our customers. The respect we show our people through a policy that “promotes from within” pays dividends in the experience that our guests enjoy.
Third: lead from the front, as Ed certainly did in Egypt. A leader by definition has to be on the front line when necessary, taking responsibility for any flak the troops get for doing the job you’ve set them out to do. That way, when you hand out an assignment, your people can be confident that you have clear and personal knowledge of what you’re asking them to do. You’ve been there and done that.
Whether you’re the leader of a mega-enterprise, the owner of the local corner drugstore or a young executive just starting out, your ultimate success will more often than not, depend on the mutual respect and care you consistently demonstrate for the people around you. So, get out from behind your desk, your phone, or your shop counter. You’ll be amazed with what you learn, with the positive impact you can make and by the opportunities that most assuredly will come your way. Get your boots on the ground and your feet off the desk.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.