Lessons Learned from Man's Best Friend

July 21, 2008

Scan0001 For over 60 years, our family's been spending our summers at a lake house in New Hampshire and we've always taken a dog with us. The past few years, we've taken our favorite golden retriever named Murphy. Murphy's eight years old now - he's getting a little gray in the face.

His DNA, of course, gets him really excited about chasing ducks. He loves to see those green mallards go by. He used to jump off the dock and race after those ducks and swim as hard as he could with all his strength, but he never caught them.

This past Memorial Day, we took Murphy to New Hampshire again. As soon as he got out of the car, he ran to the edge of the dock and stopped. By experience, I guess, he's learned that he just can't catch those ducks. It's just not worth it to jump off that dock and chase something that he can't achieve.

You know, I've found that experience is a great teacher. We have pretty slow business times in America today. I've been through at least six downturns - I think this is my seventh - in my career. But I hope, like Murphy, I've developed the patience to work my way through these difficult times.

I've learned that impetuous actions are not always the best way to go. Murphy has acquired wisdom through the years - he no longer chases the ducks he can't catch. And I hope that, like Murphy, I've gained a little wisdom too.

This is Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Lessons Learned from My Dog Murphy

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I started my career with Marriott at the Pooks HIll Marriott where youf father would dine frequently at the Kona Kai restaurant in the hotel. He was always inspiring the associates with his personal stories of wisdom and you have continued to inspire us in his absence. Thank you for all that you do for all of us and please continue to share you stories.

Mr. Marriott,
The flip side is to jump in and keep trying. Just because you haven't accomplished your goal yet doesn't mean it's unattainable. Could be you need to keep trying and figure a new way to approach the ducks. Actually, maybe he just liked to watch the mallards fly and wasn't really trying to catch them afterall. In which case, he wasn't giving up.......the water was just too cold that day!

It is almost providential that I stumbled upon this blog. Having just returned from a wonderful week at Marriott KoOlina, I sent Corinee ***** the account manager at KoOlina a gift in response to her kindness and professionalism The 'gift' was a book I wrote entitled "Gaining a Leash on Life" (Lessons from Bud), published by Willow Creek Publishers.
I have found that dogs are more than wonderful companions. This insight seems to be shared by all who have responded to this blog. They are, to those who attentively observe, master teachers and models of how to live a richer, fuller life. In Gaining A Leash On Life I invite readers to obtain a new perspective following the direction of Bud, my scrappy 16-year-old terrier mix. As I observed my best friend, Bud, it was clear to me that I had much to learn in terms of increasing my own awareness, acceptance and celebration of the gifts of life. The book allowed me to encourage and instruct others to embrace a new way of life, one in which we howl more and worry less, turn the "every day" into something to celebrate, recapture dreams and turn them into realities, and find the peace and calm meant to be experienced. These are the encouraging, heartwarming, and spiritual lessons of Bud.

Saw your interview on the Today Show and was pleasantly surprised that you have become a blogger, although you write down your ideas on paper first. I was very impressed that a man of your stature would take the time to contribute to the Marriott site in this way. I am a big fan of Marriott as we have always stayed in Marriott hotels over the years, impressed enough to buy 2 weeks worth of Time Share units in Orlando, Florida, (Cypress Harbor and Grande Vista). I have always promoted the Marriott name to friends and family and most say because of that, that I should work for your company. Actually, I would really like the opportunity to be able to promote your company in a some sort capacity. It would be an honor to meet you and work for you. With best regards, Susan

I saw the story about your blog on NBC and thought I would check it out. Last year I stayed in the Downtown Marriott in San Francisco and the bed was so comfortable it was hard for me to leave it. I went home and tried to replicate it, but it is not quite the same. I'm looking forward to going back.
My only complaint of the stay was no one told me about the concierge level. I told a friend to stay there and she did and raved about the concierge level. I wish I had know-
Great story about Murphy. I wish my Yorkshire Terrier could learn that she is not going to catch a squirrel.

Great lesson Bill. I remember growing up in a family that smoked and I'm sure my lungs were damaged as well...I now have allergies to pet dander...Some of your bloggers suggested you be more pet friendly at the Marriott...I suggest people with pets can now use pet motel's and you keep your hotel rooms healthy and clean. I've stayed at hotels (not Marriott)that were clean but could not stay in the room because it reeked of smoke...If you were to become more pet friendly(and I suggest you do not)which pet would you exclude? That bring a whole new set of problems. Love your blog...

Great story, thanks.

I am becoming more devoted to your hotel all of the time, especially after the most pleasant stay with my wife at the Renaissance Tampa. Good luck through the slower economic times and I hope all of us involved in the economy can keep pressure on the governmental controls that hurt us more than help us. Thank you again for what you provide to all of us.

I saw the news last night and thought I'd give this blog a peek. Very nice stories and wise words, Bill. I learned a lot and will be enjoying it again and again. Keep up the great job.

Hi Bill. Krista from Kodak. Saw the NBC Nightly News story last night so wanted to check out your blog. Our Chief Blogger did a post a while back about dog photography - maybe you can try it out sometime with Murphy! BTW, had a great stay recently at Renaissance in Chicago!

Very nice article. I enjoy learning lessons such as this. Please continue to share.

I Think the dog needs more stealth, first of all it has to stop thinking like a dog. it needs power of the technology, no duck is impossible. make murphy watch bond movies.lol..;P

Great minds think alike. Lance Armstrong once said you have to ride your own race. I think that applies in good times and uncertain times. Murphy is wise to wait until the playing field levels to his advantage again.

So, slow times, eh? Wouldn't have anything to do with the incredibale price increases Marriott has pushed through in the last 2 years, would it? I've seen your rates skyrocket rates up 50%, way above reasonable increases for inflation. What comes around, goes around.

Very nice piece about Murphy, your Golden Retriever. Murphy's example shows that, for him, experience has been a great teacher. It is for many of us.
Our last Golden (now gone), called Pippin, also loved the water and loved being at our lakeside cabin. She would chase ducks occasionally, but her favorite thing was to get into the lake and chase groups of minnows. She never gave this up. In her case, I think experience had likely taught her that she could not succeed in catching them, but she loved the sport so much that she would chase them anyway.
Sometimes putting in effort on a task is worth it, just for the joy of the effort, if you love to do what you're doing.

It's amazing how we learn from our best pet friends. Their perception about life is just very much down to earth. Thanks for sharing such a great understanding.

Saw you on Nightly News, this blog is a great way to keep close with your customers, your no longer some big, rich CEO...you're a person, with a dog. That makes me want to use your business.

Murphy's one smart dog...(:-)
I used to be part of Marriott Rewards.
I chose to drop out, because Marriott chose to discriminate against those who smoke. Research shows that tabacco at low levels stimulates alertness. As a person living with MS, I smoke moderately which helps me keep my job. People smoke for a variety of reasons. Perhaps times wouldn't be so lean if you made a warm attempt to accomodate everyone.
Thanks for listening.

Not on subject, just think that its cool that you actually contribute to this blog is all. Even though you write it out, at least your honest and do still put the thoughts that appear on this page. Keep up the good work.

My guess is that since Murphy is a Marriott, he is just coming up with an innovative new plan and is lulling the ducks into complacency. Then will get them from the side!

Dear Mr. Marriott,
I am a Platinum Premier member, and I love all of your hotels - especially on Maui and the Big Island, Hawaii.
Your employees are truly exceptional, and its always a privilege to stay at one of your properties.

This has really nothing to do with dog's although I agree that your hotels should be more pet friendly.
I recently stayed at the Marriott New World Courtyard in Beijing the week of July 4th and want to say just how well I was treated there during my stay. The service was impeccable and the food at both restaurants was some of the best I had while there. The complimentary breakfast was outstanding and the rooms more than met my expectations. I thank your staff for a most enjoyable stay.

As another lifelong dog lover, I liked your story on your dog. It reminded my of the fact that your hotels don't allow dogs. That is one thing you could do that would make me a lto more likely to stay at your hotels.

Mr. Marriott,
I am retired from the Billy Graham Association. My boss thought the world of your parents. We went to the Jersey Shore this past week. Stayed at the Fairfield in Wytheville, VA. on our way back to Atlanta. Saw you on NBC just a few minutes ago. Smiled when you said you didn't type. I recall the Army sent me to clerk-typist school in 1947. Thought that was terrible at the time. Sure have appreciated it over the years!
Best regards,
Don Bailey

Sound like sgge advise for any business. Thnaks fro sharing your insight.