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.

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I love making list as well. I use them like a check list to make sure I'm taking care of all my day to day reports, meetings and tasks. I appreciate your list I will use it to make sure that I'm striving to be better, and for helping my team to always be moving forward. Thank-you

One rule I think everyone needs to follow to be a great leader is to get to know your employees. If you take an interest in their lives and really take the time to understand their personalities, you can have a better perspective on the shift at hand or different situations that occur. You can also use this as an asset when you know you have certain guests coming and you want to make a connection with them.

It's difficult to give a preference when you find all the mentioned rules so right and they give you the opportunity to reflect.
As associate and proud to be, I found the rule number 6 exceptional.
It simply summarizes "how to do" to get the result.
Listen first, plan and act.
All the points are revealed by this one.
If you listen you can improve, provide quality and service. Make the difference then.
That's exactly what I learned during my experience in Marriott.

Thank you.

There are many on the list that I live by but the one I enjoy the most is the last one;
12. View every problem as an opportunity to grow!

As a concierge I love when I find a guest with a problem.It gives me the opportunity to turn it around and allow the guest to leave
our property with a great feeling and a desire to return.In addition more than likely I would learned something new in the process!

I am a true fan of everything Marriott! I have copied this list and it will become my mantra! Thank you Mr. Marriott!!!

Thanks I appreciate this post and to say which I liked most or stuck out to me most of this list would be the last..."View every problem as an opportunity to grow!! This is all in my Life...

I just started working for Marriott, and have put this list on the back page of my TPS notebook for reference! Number 11 is my personal favorite.

The one I needed to hear today was view every problem as an opportunity to grow. I'm in the middle of a challenging opportunity at my job and haven't had a good perspective on it. Thank you for helping me see it as an opportunity rather than a misfortune.


I am really happy to be working for such a great company that actually understands the right procedures to take for success and the best interest for everyone in the company. I like all the rules in the list above but my favorite would have to be #9 It's more important to hire people with the right qualities than with specific experience.

I appreciate all on the list and it was hard to think of one favorite. I will have to choose #10 Customer needs may vary, but their bias for quality never does.
We have a lot of return customers and it is because of the quality of service, pleasant greetings and engaging conversations. I am proud to work for this company.
Mr. Marriott, thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Miyeon Welsch, Front Desk Agent at Courtyard Boca Raton
Thank you so much for sharing this excellent advice! # 3 is new learning for me. I already celebrate my co-worker's success!

Mothers are so important in our lives. Most mothers always have a loving way to ensure their children have values and succeed in life. I give all thanks to God for a mom that understand when
you treat people fair good will always follow.
This is a beautiful success story...Peace Love & happiness to all.

Great blog. I have included your blog in my latest Strategy Blog (, but could not find a Twitter account to link it to. If I missed that please let me know.

Regards, Norbert

Thank you, Mr. Marriott, for sharing your list. I especially like #3, #9 and #11. I will certainly keep your list close to heart. Although I am currently not in the management team, I have been with the company since 2005 and I believe that some items on your list will still help me in my career.

View every problem as an opportunity to grow. I always say you saved the best for last. I have lived by it since I joined Marriott.

Thanks Bill!
I'm a list person as well and I'll for sure use those tips on my lists from now on!

Thank you for reiterating these philosophies. I try to live, breath, walk, and talk by your legacy every single day. The associates, guests, and leaders need to live, learn, and respect the legacy that is... Marriott

I love this list so much that I printed it as well! I'm not sure that I can pick a favorite - the combination of these habits create a great leadership fabric (and we have evidence of this!)

As for my own rules, one of mine is close to #7 - When the business gets tough, tough it out together. I think it is so important to remind our associates (and to be reminded) that we support one another through both the smooth moments and the tumultuous ones as well. 'Boots on ground' as they say in the Army.

Thank you so much for your leadership!

Dear Mr. Marriott,

Thank you so much for sharing the 12 rules with all of us. All of those rules still apply today as it did when your Father gave you a list of guideposts.

I especially like rule #7: See and be seen. Working as a Nurse Manager in a big Property in San Francisco, CA, I don't sit in my office all day but go up to different guest floors to see our Housekeepers, participate in daily stretch routine with
Housekeepers, walk the back aisle to see how Banquet Servers work, visit with our Hosts at the Lobby, Front Desk, Bell Stand, Concierge Desk, F&B Outlets, etc...this has served me well because without observing and hearing about challenges, I wouldn't have been very successful at what I do.

Rules I abide by are: Be persistent in everything you do & want to achieve in life and in a career. "Never give up."

Try to embrace change--it can be an opportunity to grow.

Thank you!


As a Marriott associate for 34 years in August this list is great for training and has helped make me who I am today. I am respected by my managers, peers and associates. My favorite rules are #8 and #9.

Thank you for sharing this with us Mr. Marriott. I couldn't agree more with your 12 rules for success. I remember reading these early in my Marriott career. I try to incorporate these guidepost into my leadership style daily. It was great advise back when I started as a leader and a good reminder today. Thank you for your inspiration.

I wrote these down as soon as I saw them! Celebrating your people's success, not your own is my favorite rule in the list.

Awareness, being humble and listening are the rules I abide by in being a good leader.

Thank you for sharing!

Having lists are always a good thing. It helps to keep you focus. I like 2, 5, and 9 but my favorite is 9. Too many times there are people who are determined/willing to learn and do the job but because of lack of experience, they never get the chance to prove their work. Great list to go by!

Thank you. I know that I will be keeping this list close at hand.
I love the quote "No one accidentally becomes a good leader. It takes dedication and discipline"

You asked for my favorite rule, I love all but two stand out for me, #3 & #11

Thank you again for sharing. I am hoping to apply some if not all these rules over time.

Thank you for sharing this valuable list. I have worked for many leaders who exhibit these same values.